Anchoring our hope in God

If we’re feeling a bit hopeless about things going on in the world or in our own lives, it’s worth considering a spiritual basis for hope – one that doesn’t just make us feel good, but actually furthers healing and harmony, as a woman found when faced with a painful neck problem.

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“That’s so 2020!”

I’ve heard that phrase, or some variant of it, a lot this year. Though sometimes said with a chuckle of sorts, it’s rarely used in reference to something happy or good.

I get it. To say it’s been a tough year for humanity is an understatement, the reasons so obvious they don’t even need to be spelled out.

And yet, maybe we don’t need to throw in the towel on joy, health, hope. Or buy into the notion of bad things as a norm. “Hope wins” is the encouraging message on some yard signs I’ve seen around my community in recent months.

Christian Science has helped me realize that there’s a profound basis for hope, one that goes well beyond blind faith or wishful thinking. It has to do with what’s underneath the surface of what’s going on, every second, without fail: the power and presence of God, divine Spirit.

This God – the one and only, supremely powerful Principle of all that’s good and true – isn’t simply a force for good in an otherwise flawed world. God, Spirit, is goodness itself, and by extension all that God creates is also spiritual and good, sustained by God and God alone. No other legitimate power exists.

It’s a radical idea. But a willingness to accept it opens the door to an equally radical kind of hope – one that can’t be shattered. Above all, it’s a hope that actually empowers us to experience divine goodness in tangible ways.

Some time ago there was a period when my neck was constantly in pain, at times excruciatingly so. Moving around was difficult and unpleasant. Having previously experienced the effectiveness of Christian Science in healing problems, I’d been praying about the issue, but it didn’t relent. It was hard not to feel discouraged, especially when the travel day for an important trip across the country arrived. The thought of traveling all day, managing luggage, and navigating a flight layover in this condition was daunting.

Then a certain phrase came to mind from a book I’d been reading by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. In it, Mrs. Eddy described man (all of us) as “God’s image, His idea, coexistent with Him – God giving all and man having all that God gives” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 5).

That really hit home for me. If we’re the image, or idea, of God, who expresses limitless love and goodness in all of us, there’s no room for pain in that equation. It’s not included in God’s nature, and therefore not included in our true, spiritual nature, either.

Hope washed over me. I felt deep in my heart that even though my neck was still painful, the injury simply wasn’t part of the real me. God, good, never has and never could leave or stop caring for His loved children. I could expect strength and healing, not agony.

This buoyed me throughout that day of travel. Though the journey was not without its difficulties, I felt anchored in God’s love, and there were so many evidences of God’s goodness in operation – such as the four occasions when, out of the blue, fellow passengers offered to lift my luggage into or out of the overhead compartment. And by the time I got to my hotel, I could move more freely than I had all week.

The next day I attended a talk on Christian Science healing, which included many inspiring ideas that reinforced my conviction in God’s perpetual goodness. When I left the following morning, I traveled with ease and comfort. My activities during the ensuing week involved walking, running, and even playing tennis, all of which I did with complete freedom and absolutely no pain. In the years since, the problem has not returned.

“The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,” one of Christ Jesus’ followers wrote, “that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). It’s never unreasonable to expect good. Even when things seem to be going poorly, there’s always something else going on: the spiritual reality of God’s unstoppable, universal, limitless goodness.

When we start from that perspective – yes, even in 2020, and in any other year, too – the way opens for hope with the power of God behind it, the kind of hope that furthers healing and harmony.

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