Enduring goodness

If we’re feeling as if bad is eclipsing the good in the world, or as if goodness has been put on hold, it’s worth considering the biblical promise of God’s unending goodness for all His children, at every moment.

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Much of what we’re hearing and seeing in the world right now could make us question the continuity of good. Has basic goodness, people may wonder, been put on hold?

In thinking about this question myself lately, I’ve found it so helpful to consider something I’ve learned in my study of Christian Science: that God’s infinite goodness is fully and permanently in place. “O give thanks unto the Lord,” says the Bible, “for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (I Chronicles 16:34).

People often say, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” That certainly is prudent counsel. And especially when fear and uncertainty seem to ring out so loudly, our own thoughts of joy, hope, and peace may get a bit drowned out or overwhelmed. So, perhaps we could even put that saying this way: “Don’t believe everything that you think!”

For instance, we can rethink the notion that bad things are inevitable, because that’s not a thought that aligns with the understanding of a God whose mercy is enduring. I find that only those thoughts that make me feel closer to the goodness that is God are valid and worthy of embracing.

There are times we might wonder: Are there days when God’s goodness isn’t here? From the Bible’s wonderful 23rd Psalm, we receive this encouraging answer: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (verse 6). God’s unending goodness is expressed in all of us, His spiritual offspring, at every moment.

So any thought that implies separation from God, from good, does not come from God, the one legitimate Mind. We can calmly yet completely reject it as a lie about God’s ever-presence and unfolding good. The founder of The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, points out in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love” (p. 66). Taking a stand for the spiritual reality of God’s goodness continually opening up for us enables us to see more of that goodness in our lives.

To ensure we see this, we can be careful to weigh up what we permit to remain in consciousness, even if the information has been voiced with a sense of authority. Back when I played baseball, there were times when I would see another player who was at wit’s end trying to learn a new skill. Usually, he’d ask a coach for help. Because the player so wanted to learn the new skill, he would listen to the coach with very intense, unwavering attention.

Sadly, there would be times that the coach didn’t know the correct answer but would guess and give an incorrect one. The player, believing the information he’d been given was infallible, tirelessly but fruitlessly attempted to practice what he’d been told. The result was failure and often great frustration.

In everyday life, sometimes the same kind of thing happens in our thinking. We may hear or read about bad things happening in the world, be told with authority that is how things are going to continue, and simply accept the notion that goodness is gone or, at least, on a break. Or that we have to wait until months from now, for goodness to slowly and sparingly appear once again.

Even in those moments, though, God is communicating His infinite, spiritual goodness to each of us. This goodness can never somehow go on hiatus. Nothing exists that could keep this divine goodness from being reflected throughout creation, even for a moment. Jesus knew this and demonstrated this. In a parable in which a father serves as a metaphor for God, Jesus depicted God as saying, “All that I have is thine” (Luke 15:31).

Opening our thought to the idea that God’s goodness is limitless, ever present, and always in action brings healing, confidence, and serenity.

Editor’s note: As a public service, all the Monitor’s coronavirus coverage is free, including articles from this column. There’s also a special free section of JSH-Online.com on a healing response to the coronavirus. There is no paywall for any of this coverage.

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