Caring for others? Let inspiration lead the way.

Feeling stumped during her preparations for a hands-on test during her training as a Christian Science nurse, a woman turned to God for help.

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A course I took while training to be a Christian Science nurse required designing a care procedure for bandaging. We had to execute the procedure within a specific period of time, while demonstrating gentleness and poise.

I love caring for others and took on the preparation for the test with gusto – that is, until I hit a roadblock. While I knew technically what to do, executing it with the requisite gentle care took me twice as long as the allotted time. I stayed up night after night reworking the scenario. There had to be an answer!

But the night before the test, I still hadn’t come up with a viable solution. I’ve found that faced with a problem of any kind, focusing on the problem itself tends to enlarge fear, which can confuse and lead to mistakes. So I turned my thought to God instead.

Christian Science explains that God is infinite Mind, whose intelligence and good ideas are reflected in each of us. So whatever the unique circumstance may be, the right answer is present and discoverable. The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote: “Mortals may climb the smooth glaciers, leap the dark fissures, scale the treacherous ice, and stand on the summit of Mont Blanc; but they can never turn back what Deity knoweth, nor escape from identification with what dwelleth in the eternal Mind” (“Unity of Good,” p. 64).

The Bible illustrates the quick and transformative effect of turning to divine Mind to find workable solutions. One example involves two followers of Jesus, Paul and Silas, who had been stripped, beaten, and thrown in prison. That night, as they prayed and sang hymns of praise to God, an earthquake struck, and suddenly all the prisoners were unbound and the prison doors were opened (see Acts 16:22-36).

Seeing those open doors, and fearing the prisoners had fled, a waking guard was about to take his life when Paul saved him by calling out that all the prisoners were still inside. The situation made such an impression on the jailer that he became a believer in God and Christ Jesus.

To me this illustrates that not all challenges are what they seem. Sometimes they enable us to practice a living faith that helps others to experience freedom and light, too.

In another Bible account, the Apostle Peter, too, was put in prison. The church prayed for his liberation. Then in the night, an angel woke him, removed his chains, and guided him step by step to the exit, where the gate opened by itself. The angel then accompanied him some distance to be sure he was safely out of prison (see Acts 12).

Peter’s story shows that no matter how cornered we may feel by a problem, the angels (or inspiration) of divine Mind are present and accessible to take us all the way to complete freedom and solutions.

So that night, I prayed and listened for God’s angel to lead me to a solution. As I did, an uncomplicated but effective way to care gently and properly for the test case came to me. When I performed it for the teachers the next day, I did it in the allotted time.

When I finished, the teachers told me that I had, in fact, misunderstood the assignment, which had involved bandaging only one leg, not two, as I had done. At first it seemed as though my preparation and prayer had been unnecessary, but it soon became clear that wasn’t the case. A month later, my first case in my practical training presented exactly the scenario I had executed for the test – bandaging two legs. My earlier prayers had led me to an approach that provided the needed care in half the usual time – a great kindness to the patient.

A willingness to persist past fear and confusion, and to turn to God for guidance, empowers us to minister to those in need. “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy’s primary work on Christian Science, says, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). The divine Love that is God is also the infinite Mind that gives us exactly what we need at every moment. Whatever the circumstance, we can trust this loving Mind to guide us, step by step, to solutions.

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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.