When a friend feels hopeless about the possibility of future goodness in life – when he or she feels sure that good times are permanently over and done with – is there some kind of encouragement that might help? Optimism is nice, but there are times that call for more than optimism.
I’ve found a good starting point for working through and beyond those discouraging feelings is to consider this: What if genuine goodness isn’t as fragile as it can seem?
Nelson Mandela said, “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” This points to a real and lasting goodness that doesn’t come from an economy, a mortal body, an environment, a season of the year, and so forth – and therefore is not vulnerable to fear, lack, resentment, variable economic trends, envy, illness.
Where could such an unalterable goodness originate?
Christian Science explains that true goodness is everlasting and spiritual, because its origin is God, the ever-present divine Mind. God is utterly, purely good. To know that good actually originates in God is to know a fuller contentment and fearlessness. The Christian Science Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, points out in “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896” that, “According to the Scriptures, – St. Paul declares astutely, ‘For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things,’ – man is incapable of originating: nothing can be formed apart from God, good, the all-knowing Mind” (p. 71).
We are each specifically created to show forth the nature and content of God’s pure goodness. God never changes or dissipates, and neither does the rich goodness that God is expressing in His spiritual creation. Because our true, spiritual identity is indivisible from God, time can’t sever us from His goodness. Circumstances and trends can’t, either. To affirm this is powerful prayer.
A friend of mine has a business that, some time ago, was failing because of economic conditions in his country. Steadily over time, he based his prayers on the idea that God is the only provider of true goodness, and that he, his employees, and his customers were all the blessed beneficiaries of this spiritual goodness. He consistently identified himself and everyone as constant recipients of an overflowing divine goodness.
My friend made an effort to devote more of his thoughts to the presence of God’s goodness, rather than getting mired in negativity. As his active love for and acknowledgment of God, good, grew, so did his awareness of that good around him. Solutions and opportunities arose in unexpected ways that benefited the business, employees, and customers alike. Today, his business is thriving.
Christ Jesus stated, “There is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). This statement has such far-ranging significance for each of us. Only God provides genuine goodness – goodness that is spiritually permanent – and He does this unceasingly.
This is grounds for more than just optimism. Even as the world changes rapidly around us, we can discover through prayer that in spiritual reality, we keep only the good – God’s goodness, which lasts forever – and see more of that goodness day by day.