Look for the burning bush

Today’s contributor explores how we can be more open to finding tangible evidence of the presence of God in our lives.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Imagine for a moment that you’re by yourself in the desert, and feeling really alone. You see something on fire that, despite the flames, doesn’t burn up. Your first thought might be, “That’s impossible!” Right?

That’s what happened to Moses, according to the Bible. He saw a bush that was on fire but wasn’t consumed. When he saw it, his response was, “I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt” (Exodus 3:3). It turned out to be a divine sign, the start of an ongoing experience of hearing God’s clear guidance, which led to Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery.

Sometimes when we’re feeling stressed, upset, or lacking in direction, a “burning bush” of our own would be really helpful – an assurance that we’re not alone and that God is there with us. But are signs like this available to us? And how can we recognize them?

There’s a book called “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” that, along with the Bible, has been helpful to me in answering such questions. In it the author, Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy, writes about God, divine Spirit, as ever present, everywhere, and discernible to us. As the children of God, we are never separated from Him or the inspiration he sends us.

This understanding makes recognizing the power and goodness of God a daily possibility. We may not see literal burning bushes, but we can expect to see, feel, and experience God’s presence.

Sometimes this happens in unexpected ways. Or ordinary things point to the Divine, to a spiritual reality beyond what we see with our eyes. The important thing is to be open to God’s presence. For instance, on my drives into town, I’ve started asking God to open my eyes to something that will reveal to me His glory. And my prayer has been consistently answered. But I’ve had to be open to it. If Moses hadn’t turned aside to look at the sign God was giving him, he might have missed it.

I’ve had an experience that echoes that, though on a much smaller scale. One cold, dark winter morning, I felt a mental heaviness prevailing as I went outside to feed the horses. Suddenly it was as though I heard a voice telling me to look up. I did. There was the most gorgeous sunrise. In that moment, it deeply spoke to me of promise, of a bright beginning of a new day. More than just optimism, it signaled to me a clear sense of God’s healing power and presence. I’d have missed it had I not obeyed that inspiration to look up.

With this, the mental darkness lifted, and situations I’d been struggling with quickly improved.

There have also been other signs of God’s hand in my life through my practice of Christian Science. I’ve had many wonderful healings through gaining a clearer recognition of God’s reality, including recovery from concussion and sudden deafness. Supply has come in unexpected ways when all reserves had been used up. There have been gifts of joy, inspiration, and contentment received spontaneously from our caring God.

Whether we’re praying about situations of wider concern than our own or just going about our daily routines, as we consciously open our thought to the nature of God as ever-present good we will see more evidences of God’s presence. Goodness is what God is and imparts to us – delighting, reassuring, inspiring, even healing us.

Receptivity to this divine inspiration will give us a deeper look at the peace and tenderness that divine Love is expressing. It will spur us on and enable us to experience God as always close and wonderful. Our own “burning bushes” are there for all of us. Our job is to pause and take a good look!

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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.”

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