The power of hope and faith

Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). While problems in the world sometimes seem overwhelming, following Jesus’ example of complete faith in God’s all-power quiets our own thought and enables us to be a healing influence for good.

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The other day I was driving through a small community and saw this quote posted on the side of a building: “Attitude is contagious … is yours worth catching?” Those words really made me think and ask: How can my attitude make a positive difference, especially during these days of widespread health concerns? Then I thought: I can strive even more to have an attitude of hope and faith in God regarding the healing of sickness, including contagion.

I’ve been nurturing this desire since then, so I was grateful, but not surprised, when I found myself with opportunities to speak with some individuals involved in media and publishing, about how hope and faith in God is so important in addressing public health concerns – and that these qualities of thought can help to bring healing.

They agreed, and I felt as if the light of what I had seen for myself had been shone to illumine the thoughts of others, at least in those conversations. To me, this evidenced how an uplifted thought makes a positive difference – helping to bring hope and faith in God to bear upon issues in which feelings of hopelessness and helplessness might seem to prevail.

Christ Jesus stands out as the prime example of how such confidence in God brings about positive change. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). These simple but momentous words of his express not only Jesus’ expectation of good, of healing and health, but also his full reliance on and trust in one all-powerful God. And it was his unwavering faith in and understanding of God that brought physical healing to those in great need and reformed those struggling with sin.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor in 1908, was a devout follower of Jesus and also understood the significance of letting God uplift our thoughts. She wrote: “Human hope and faith should join in nature’s grand harmony, and, if on minor key, make music in the heart” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 330). Indeed, hope and faith bring the salutary conviction of God’s all-power and transform thought during our toughest times in life, naturally bringing healing and “mak[ing] music in the heart.”

For instance, the Bible records an account of a blind man named Bartimaeus who called out to Jesus to have mercy on him and heal him (see Mark 10:46-52). Apparently Bartimaeus lived in poverty, as the Bible indicates he was a beggar. His situation certainly seemed desperate – he had every reason to feel hopeless and faithless.

But clearly he hadn’t given up hope! He had faith in Jesus’ healing ability and an expectation of good. When Bartimaeus was told that Jesus had called for him to come over, he rose up at once. Jesus then told him, “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole,” and he was healed of his blindness.

Jesus’ declaration of Bartimaeus’ health-giving faith indicates the importance of this quality of thought – not a blind faith, but a faith like that described in Mrs. Eddy’s key work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” There, she says of faith, “It is a chrysalis state of human thought, in which spiritual evidence, contradicting the testimony of material sense, begins to appear, and Truth, the ever-present, is becoming understood” (p. 297). Bartimaeus’ faith not only contributed to his own healing, but it’s probably safe to assume that his receptivity to Truth, God, enabled him to go on to help others. After all, the Bible states that after he was healed, he “followed Jesus in the way.”

As just one individual among many, we may sometimes ask ourselves, what good can we really accomplish? But it’s helpful to think about the fact that change for the better ultimately begins on an individual level. Letting faith and hope uplift our own thinking makes a positive difference in our families, communities, and the world. And this more spiritually minded thought is “contagious” to others and “worth catching.” A hope and faith grounded in God’s goodness can have a transforming, healing effect in ways we can’t begin to measure.

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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.