The continuity of good

It can sometimes seem that the bad outweighs the good. But considering God’s unwavering care for all creation brings to light evidence of divine goodness in our lives, as a woman found out when faced with a financial shortfall.

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Several years ago, I was really wondering how I was going to make it financially. My husband had died unexpectedly, and even as a two-income family we’d needed every bit of our joint earnings each month just to pay the bills.

I’d found prayer to be helpful in resolving the smallest challenges of daily life as well as the big ones, so I started to pray about this right away. My prayers were based on some fundamental ideas that I’d learned from my study of Christian Science.

One of these ideas is that God sustains all creation – including each of us, the children of this divine Parent. This God is good and always present. It follows, then, that God’s goodness is always present to bless us and everyone, no matter what the circumstances might be. God created the universe with great love, and it’s this universal love of God, divine Love itself, that sustains everything and everyone.

“The operation of this Principle indicates the eternality of the scientific order and continuity of being,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 123). Here, “Principle” is used as another name for God. We can expect good to predominate – not because if we wait around long enough something good is bound to happen, but because the continuity of good is a reliable, ever-operating spiritual law.

So we can count on infinite Love to meet our needs. Sometimes, when things go wrong, this can feel hard to believe. This is where prayer comes in. Reaching out in prayer to see more of God’s, Love’s, eternal and inclusive goodness puts us in a position to be more expectant of our needs being met and receptive to inspired solutions, and to then recognize the tangible signs of God’s care.

When I was facing that significant financial shortfall, I often felt afraid. But as I prayed with these ideas, even as the bills piled up, I developed a trust in God’s loving care for me, a conviction that God’s goodness is reliable and ever present. My fear lifted, and soon there was tangible evidence of this spiritual fact: Month after month, there was always enough to cover my expenses. And at the end of the year, I realized that my freelance work that year had brought in an income equal to my husband’s and my combined incomes for the previous year.

In the years since, this kind of prayer has brought evidence of the continuity of God’s goodness in other situations in my life, too. Sometimes it’s been in surprising or unexpected ways, but in each case my thought has been lifted from grief or fear to a comforting awareness of God’s love.

Learning about God’s unwavering care for all creation empowers us to expect and bear witness to ongoing, recognizable good in our lives.

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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.