Sometimes it can feel as if we’re surrounded by an insurmountable problem. But looking at things through a spiritual lens, rather than being consumed by the problem, empowers us to witness the presence and care of God always surrounding us.

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The Bible tells a story of the Syrian army surrounding the city of Dothan in order to capture the prophet Elisha. In desperation, his servant asked, in effect, “Now what?” Their demise seemed imminent.

Elisha’s response was surprising: “‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (II Kings 6:16, 17, New International Version). Not only were they saved, but Elisha went on to spare his captured enemies as well.

Elisha’s profound answer taught me a great lesson. I’ve never been surrounded by a literal army, but the idea that God’s angels are always surrounding us has helped me many times throughout my life.

Some years ago, I was involved with a complex building project in New York City. Not long into the project, conflict arose between the various parties involved, which made every meeting contentious and unproductive. On top of that, it looked as if the project was going to end up significantly in the hole financially.

I felt surrounded by an insurmountable problem. But I knew that God sends all of us “angels,” or messages of deliverance, which bring needed wisdom and light when we’re willing to look with the spiritual sense we each inherently have rather than simply accepting what we see with our eyes. There had been times when I needed money, a job, companionship, or better health and had experienced firsthand the healing impact of this spiritual sense – of thinking differently, from a spiritual standpoint, about a situation.

The Greek word used for “repent” in the Bible means “to think differently” (“Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible”). Jesus used the word often in his ministry. For instance, he urged followers to “repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, defines “Kingdom of Heaven” as “the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind...” (p. 590).

Turning to the one divine Mind, God, as our true source of supply, health, harmony, and wisdom overcomes the sense of having to rely on a limited personal mind and paves the way for outcomes we may never have imagined were possible. Science and Health explains, “The rays of infinite Truth, when gathered into the focus of ideas, bring light instantaneously, whereas a thousand years of human doctrines, hypotheses, and vague conjectures emit no such effulgence” (p. 504). The power of God is greater than whatever an enemy, or problem, may seem to be, because God is actually infinite. Acknowledging this enlightens us about the spiritual reality of God’s presence and harmony. This light enables us to see the way forward.

So instead of ruminating on the problem, I prayed, asking God how I could best glorify Him in this situation. I strove to see those involved with the project in the light of their true, spiritual identity as God’s children: trustworthy, dedicated, worthy of respect. These prayers led me to find a new party to bring into the project. This person understood immediately our desire for trust and a spirit of cooperation. Not only were these qualities introduced into the project as a result of this change, but the developer offered to help us with financial concessions in the exact amount needed to complete the project on budget.

It was hard not to feel awed; this was an even greater outcome than I had ever expected. To me it showed the value of “opening our eyes” – relying on our innate spiritual sense, which reveals God’s reality – rather than becoming consumed by a problem. This empowers us to witness the presence of God, divine Love, that’s always surrounding us and everyone.

These verses from the “Christian Science Hymnal” sum it up perfectly:

In atmosphere of Love divine,
We live, and move, and breathe;
Though mortal eyes may see it not,
’Tis sense that would deceive.

The mortal sense we must destroy,
If we would bring to light
The wonders of eternal Mind,
Where sense is lost in sight.
(No. 144, adapt. © CSBD)

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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.