Destined for goodness

A Christian Science perspective: We don’t need to expect that inharmony is inevitable.

Have you ever heard the phrase that someone is “destined for greatness”? Greatness can mean different things to different people, but in a basic sense, this concept of destiny suggests that some people have what it takes to flourish while others just don’t, and that there’s not much we can do about it.

But Christ Jesus showed a different way to think about human destiny. His understanding of our true, spiritual identity as God’s loved children enabled him to bring healing and reformation to those who needed it. And not just for a chosen few. Rich and poor, high and low in the societal hierarchy – everyone whose heart was receptive to the Christly message of God’s goodness for all of us was blessed.

The breadth and magnitude of Jesus’ healing work points to a powerful spiritual truth: As God’s creation – as the very reflection of divine Love – we are not destined for anything less than infinite goodness. We are “predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11, New King James Version). It’s the very nature of God as Love to impart goodness to us – not just at some vague point in the future, but at this moment and eternally.

“Every luminary in the constellation of human greatness, like the stars, comes out in the darkness to shine with the reflected light of God,” observes Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 340). When we let divine Love inspire our thoughts and actions, we are luminaries; that is, we’re truly shining: We’re magnifying God’s goodness. This helps us see evidence of that goodness in our own experience – for instance, in knowledge that enables us to pass a difficult test, or inspiration that helps us successfully complete a project, or abundance that meets a need.

I had an opportunity to put these ideas into practice when I was a college student. Toward the beginning of a semester, I was struggling with writing a political science paper on a certain subject, within some very particular parameters the professor had given. I had been faithfully working over the course of several days, but felt that I was getting nowhere. It got to the point at which I was so convinced that it would be impossible for me to do reasonably well that I said aloud to myself, “Well, clearly I’m not cut out for this assignment or this class.”

And yet, even as I said the words, I sensed that this feeling of inescapable inadequacy was inconsistent with what I knew of God and of our relation to divine Love. I paused to think on that a bit. God’s goodness is expressed in each of us as God’s spiritual creation – fully and without interruption. This means that we have the inherent and unlimited ability to express qualities such as intelligence, joy, wholeness, and peacefulness.

My spirits lifted enormously as I realized that it’s truly impossible for us to be destined for failure, sadness, or inharmony. As I continued praying, new ideas about how I might approach the assignment began coming to me. It wasn’t easy, but within a couple of hours I not only had a finished product, but was actually happy with it! As it turned out, so was the professor, who even included it in a group of three papers he anonymously shared with the class as examples of a job well done.

I was thrilled, but the most valuable aspect of this experience was a deeper understanding of the fact that harmony is our divine inheritance. It’s a spiritual lesson that’s helped me many times in the years since, too.

When faced with challenges big and small, we can open our hearts to God’s goodness and acknowledge that inharmony or inability isn’t God’s plan for any of us. Our destiny is goodness and joy, right now and always. Even a glimpse of this spiritual truth can bring tangible blessings.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Destined for goodness
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/A-Christian-Science-Perspective/2017/0302/Destined-for-goodness
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe