Commentary A Christian Science Perspective

Destined for goodness

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

  • Liz Butterfield Wallingford

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.

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