Certainty in uncertain times

When life’s storms roar, sometimes it can seem the only certainty is uncertainty. But turning to God, the unchangingly loving Principle of the universe, opens the door to progress and healing.

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I’ve heard it said that the one thing you can count on is that you can’t count on anything. The changing uncertainties of human existence would tend to support such a sentiment. But are chaos and variableness really the foundation of existence, or is there another, more reliable Principle we can base our lives on?

I grew up singing a hymn from the 1932 “Christian Science Hymnal” that has pointed my thought to the divine Principle that is God. The hymn begins:

In heavenly Love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?
(No. 148, Anna L. Waring)

At first glance this may just seem comforting, but I’ve found the message is so much more than that – it’s affirmative and powerful. What a startling concept: “no change my heart shall fear … for nothing changes here.” Where is this “here” where nothing changes? The hymn states it right up front: “In heavenly Love,” which is another name for God.

Christian Science explains that God isn’t a person who sits on a throne in the clouds picking and choosing who to listen to and what to fix. God is the Principle of the universe – fixed, stable, perfect, and constant. The Bible assures us of the allness and onlyness of God. The whole of existence is one infinite Principle, divine Mind, and its manifestation: man and the universe, not based in matter, but entirely spiritual and flawless. Mary Baker Eddy writes in the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, – perfect God and perfect man, – as the basis of thought and demonstration” (p. 259).

But what about life’s storms that roar around us? We can’t be simplistic about this. And it’s not appropriate to pretend nothing needs to be solved when humanity is crying out for healing. But dealing with problems, no matter how huge they might seem, does not require us to ignore divine Principle. Actually, an even greater reliance on this unchanging Principle opens the door to progress and healing.

What I am learning is that such situations don’t actually present another version of truth or reality, but are distortions or misinterpretations of the one and only Truth, or God. All the while, the spiritual reality is what is seen from the standpoint of divine Mind, God, rather than from the limited viewpoint of our physical senses: life as entirely spiritual, and God’s care for His spiritual sons and daughters as unlimited and eternal.

Applying these truths in our daily lives takes a willingness to give up our own view of things and to let God be the interpreter of God’s own universe. Science and Health explains: “The divine Principle of the universe must interpret the universe. God is the divine Principle of all that represents Him and of all that really exists. Christian Science, as demonstrated by Jesus, alone reveals the natural, divine Principle of Science” (p. 272).

I have had countless examples of the healing effects of prayerful yielding to God’s viewpoint. One such occasion was years ago when I was experiencing pain in my chest. As I prayed over several days, affirming that God is the immortal Life of all and each of us is the spiritual expression of that Life, the pain lessened.

But one afternoon the pain suddenly became intense. At that moment I felt a great mental shift, a clearer recognition of God as Life. I was filled with a certainty that God alone causes and takes care of life. The pain stopped instantly and never returned.

What certainty and comfort there is in realizing that what we see through physical sense is not the fixed fact about God and God’s children! Yes, we may have to practice yielding to God’s view of the universe in order to more consistently see evidence of divine harmony, but we always have a God-given capability to do this. Our lives and our livelihoods are immovably fixed in Principle, divine Love, whose goodness is unshakable. With this knowledge (even in small degree), we can be up and running to meet life’s challenges with grace and healing humility.

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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.