A Christian Science perspective: God’s thoughts lift us up. 

When a person feels stuck in a problem but is aware that a solution exists, he or she usually feels hope. But when there doesn’t seem to be any kind of possible solution in sight, that can be grounds for hopelessness.

In times such as these, God may feel nonexistent to us, or at least very far away. Nevertheless we may cry out, “O God, please help me.” And that’s a good thing, because even though a path up and out of the problem may not seem probable, God can open our thought to a solution, and there’s a basis for hope in trusting that simple fact.

How, specifically, does God raise us up out of what seems so afflictive and threatening? Suppose you found yourself trapped alone in the bottom of a large, dry water tank, unable to climb out, and someone who heard you calling for help peered over the edge and asked, “How well do you swim?” You might answer incredulously, and impatiently, “I swim fine, but the tank is bone dry! How is swimming going to help!”

The person disappears, and the next thing you hear is a valve handle turning. Through an opening near the bottom edge of the tank, water begins flowing in. As the tank fills, naturally you begin swimming, rising higher and higher until you can escape without difficulty right over the edge. Smiling, you apologize for your impatience and thank your new friend for this very effective solution.

Christian Science has made real to me that God is man’s best friend. It also defines God as the infinite divine Mind that constantly provides supremely effective ideas, or thoughts, that raise us up from illness, injustice, fear, and lack. The thoughts God provides fill us, elevating our consciousness above entrancement with all that suggests hopelessness.

Jesus explained that Spirit is God (see John 4:24), so it makes sense that God’s answers to our prayers are going to be spiritual. As the intelligence, goodness, and love of God begin to fill consciousness, we are inevitably buoyed up – and lifted out of what frightens us. We see that what seemed like a tangible material problem was really a limited view that left God out of the picture.

It’s natural that divinely uplifted thinking improves our experiences. Resolutions come as a result of inspiration from God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, once wrote a poem that includes this prayer: “Fill us today/ With all thou art” (“Poems,” p. 29). Yes, to fill our thought with the awareness of all that God is – ever-present Truth, Life, and Love – truly and fully answers our prayer.

A friend of mine was lifted out of a trying situation of rivalry and envy in his workplace. It was tempting to be constantly upset by people elbowing for position, but instead he decided to immerse his thought hour by hour in the love of God.

After some time of doing this diligently, he stopped inwardly reacting to his environment. It wasn’t long before brand new opportunities for him to progress and contribute opened up.

Challenging experiences can prompt us to pray and feel even more of the authority and presence of God, who is perfect, divine Love. For each such effort, not only will we be raised up, but we will also be proving there’s a way out of hopelessness for others. So we can dry those tears. We can turn hopelessness into hope, and hope into healing, as we allow ourselves to “be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

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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.