At this moment, many aspects of life have been postponed or are at a complete standstill on account of the pandemic. We may wonder when things will get better in regard to such things as health, the economy, and employment.
Everyone wants progress, and rightfully so. I have been thinking about what it means to move ahead, to grow, to progress even when things don’t look so great.
There are so many examples in nature of progress going on unseen to the human eye. For instance, in winter certain plants are actively rooting underground, resulting in beautiful flowers in the spring. The idea that progress can take place where least expected shines through in this Bible verse: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus” (Isaiah 35:1, English Standard Version).
So what can we do when we feel we are in the middle of dry, barren land, a far cry from flourishing in the way we would like to? When I have found myself in situations that didn’t seem to be getting better (and there have been a number over the decades), I have relied on prayer in Christian Science, praying to the one all-powerful God who loves and cares for me and everyone at all times and in all circumstances.
A few years back I experienced a distressing itchy skin condition. Although it wasn’t visible to others, there were times when I couldn’t focus on anything else.
I was praying with the help of a Christian Science practitioner to understand that my real identity was completely spiritual and good because God, our creator, is Spirit and all good. I was striving to truly feel at the core of my being that because God only gives us peace and joy, this was all I could express as God’s deeply loved child. I prayed to understand with greater conviction that because this was the truth about my spiritual identity, it was the authority or spiritual law that governed me every moment.
From my prayers, I frequently felt a sense of peace, the mental sign that healing is taking place. This made God’s presence and power more tangible to me. But I was still distracted by the unpleasant condition. Frankly, I was discouraged because nothing seemed to have changed physically for months.
I have often found such rock-bottom moments turn into wonderful spiritual breakthroughs. Even a momentary glimpse of the futility and limitations of what the Bible calls the carnal mind, or thinking that opposes God’s supremacy and goodness, opens the path forward to healing. Then we are ready to accept God’s, divine Love’s, tender message of our pure spirituality and goodness. This is the ever-present Christ message that animated Jesus and empowered his healing works, which threw off limitations people had been living with, sometimes for many years.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote, “Progress, legitimate to the human race, pours the healing balm of Truth and Love into every wound” (“No and Yes,” p. 44). How comforting to know that right where frustration and discouragement seem to be screaming, the power of the healing presence of God, divine Truth and Love, is here – the only certain reality for each of us. God as infinite Life is inexhaustible in His outpouring of abundant good for everyone.
This is the basis for true, spiritual progress – evidenced in harmonized, transformed, and healed lives.
That’s what I experienced with the skin condition. One day when I was praying to just feel God’s presence, I had the thought that I did not need to submit to the mental demand, or pull, to define myself as fundamentally material, not spiritual. I saw that this demand was not from God, Spirit, and was therefore mistaken. I could say an unequivocal “no” to it. God as divine Love and Life is always gently impelling us to welcome and live – with divine authority – our true, spiritual nature, expressed in purity and peace.
I suddenly felt my thought moving in a different direction: toward the spiritual foundation of existence, which includes no element of materiality. At that moment, the recurring mental pull to check on, wonder about, or worry over when the condition would change stopped.
How grateful I was for that pivotal point of progress that freed my thought. And soon the condition was completely healed, with no return of it.
As we’re willing to make our God-given goodness our reference point for thinking and living, we will see progress – more evidence of peace and health in our lives.