The long-delayed news I’d been waiting for had finally arrived: I didn’t get the job I’d applied for.
I was overjoyed.
On the surface that made no sense. Those were uncertain times: I had nothing in my bank account and no home of my own, and I badly needed to be working and earning.
Beneath the surface, though, something else had been going on. I was finding a new way to think about certainty. I wasn’t enthused about the role I’d applied for, so I’d been praying to know whether I’d made the right decision by even seeking that employment.
That prayer was answered in a sweet sense of reassurance that came to me one evening: that the certainty is in God. To me, this meant I didn’t need to be humanly certain of what was right. I just needed to know that God was certain, and that I could trust that divine certainty.
That doesn’t mean God knows and organizes the details of our lives. Rather, the right solution comes to light as we become conscious of the love of God, our creator. As Deity’s spiritual offspring, expressing all that God, divine Love, is, we have no gaps in our experience of goodness.
Time and again I’d found that perceiving and accepting this spiritual fact brought needed solutions to difficulties. That’s what happened in this case. My joy at the rejection letter sprang from a sure sense that this wasn’t failure, but God’s certainty heralding a better opportunity ahead, which is what soon transpired. I was sought after and hired in a role I hadn’t applied for – one that used and developed skills I’ve loved employing ever since.
I’ve thought about this glimpse of a higher sense of certainty with Brexit, trade wars, continuing Middle East strife, and extreme weather events in the mix of headlines over the past year. Certainty – let alone the certainty of goodness – can feel like a distant dream.
But there’s a legitimacy to confidence in God’s goodness, which is illustrated in an inspiring story of spiritual poise in the face of disruptive change. It’s a Bible account of Gamaliel, a highly respected doctor of the Mosaic law. When members of a Jewish tribunal were bent on killing the early pioneers of Jesus’ teachings, a few words from Gamaliel calmed the sectarian fury and self-righteous certainty. He said: “Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it – and you better not be found fighting against God!” (Acts 5:38, 39, Eugene Peterson, “The Message”).
This spiritual sense of certainty is seen in Christian Science, which was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy almost two millennia later. It reveals that God is good, that this spiritual goodness isn’t subject to circumstances, and that Jesus’ record of healing evidenced how an inspired, spiritual discernment of divine goodness brings practical change for the better. As we yield to this spiritual understanding, our material sense of uncertainty gives place to the Christ – the spiritual idea of God’s ceaseless goodness, which impelled Jesus’ words and deeds – in tangible ways. Health displaces sickness; we’re freed from some sin; calm dispels crisis.
As our certainty in God’s goodness grows through such experiences, we lose confidence in flawed human forms of trust: a material rather than spiritual sense of self-reliance, blind faith in religious creeds, or unquestioning confidence in political philosophies. Our true nature exists forever beyond the ebb and flow of material thinking and action, in which fragility is believed to be inevitable, resulting in sickness and sorrow, vulnerability and lack. As God’s creation, we’re actually spiritual and environed solely in God’s spiritual reality.
Discerning the Science of life’s divine reality results “in the proof of healing, – in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love,” as Mrs. Eddy puts it in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 569). What a profoundly needed sense of certainty!
We’re all able to play a part in lifting the curtain on divine reality already present, already in operation. By accepting and evidencing the continuity of good found in God’s infinite and eternal control, we bring to light the divine security that belongs to all.
Adapted from an editorial published in the March 25, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.