Before the compass was invented, sailors on the ocean didn’t dare lose track of land or they could be left desolate. Now, those on a ship at sea take scrupulous care of the compass. It is protected by the binnacle that houses it. That amazing little needle on the compass always points toward the magnetic north pole, thus allowing the helmsman to orient himself on the globe. That needle is the sailor’s guide and protector.
How like our journey through life! We, too, have a guide and protector. It is Christ, the spirit of Truth and Love (synonyms for God), that steers us over the sea of life. Described by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, as “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 332), Christ is our link to God, forever with us, revealing our true nature as God’s sons and daughters, made in His image and likeness.
Without Christ, we are like Job in the Bible, who lamented, “Oh that I knew where I might find him [God]! that I might come even to his seat!... Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him” (Job 23:3, 8). We don’t really know what we are, where we are, or what we’re here for. But when we remember to check the compass, turn to the eternal Christ message, we orient ourselves aright, and find once again the spiritual understanding that leads us safely forward. Science and Health states: “Having no other gods, turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, having that Mind which was also in Christ” (p. 467).
I have often been lost at sea because I turned away from my compass. In the hubbub of a day’s activities, distractions pulled my thoughts aside, and I lost sight of land, the sense of God’s all-embracing love. But when I woke up and turned to my guide for help, my course straightened out.
At one time I felt a bad pain in my chest. It seemed like an inflammation inside my ribs. Breathing really hurt. It was frightening, for I thought it was a disease I had heard about that was potentially fatal. But I turned to my compass to feel God’s directing. I declared, “I won’t turn away from God for healing.” I knew that substance belongs to Spirit, and that matter has no real substance. Christ Jesus showed us that it’s natural to turn to Spirit, and not matter, for healing. And he has given us this sweet promise, “Nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).
Science and Health states: “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all” (p. 468). Divine Mind is the real substance of existence, manifesting itself in its idea, perfect man. Christian Science teaches that the real man (which includes all of us) is perfect, because God is perfect. As that perfect man, I could express only comfort, wholeness, perfect health. So I put all my trust in God. This true Christlike understanding of God and man very quickly healed me. The disease vanished, and it has not returned after many years.
The word “binnacle” comes from the Latin for “dwelling place.” Our “binnacle,” our true dwelling place, is what the Bible refers to as “the secret place of the most High” (Psalms 91:1). The secret place is our consciousness of God’s love, which is always with us. It’s our real home, where all of God’s ideas, His spiritual offspring, dwell peacefully.
As Jesus tells us, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). So not only can we say we are with Christ in God, but we can also say that he is here with us in our abode, our true consciousness. What a welcome presence! By listening to and heeding the Christ message, we can and will sail on safely.