Constancy during change

If we’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious about changing circumstances, considering the unchanging nature of God’s goodness and care for all is a healing place to start.

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Sometimes we long to “change it up” – a change of pace, scenery, routine, or perspective. That’s normal. Then there are those not-so-easy changes that at first glance we may not relish at all, such as a sudden relationship breakup or some unexpected shift in work or activity.

It has been said that the only constant is change. But I’ve actually found it more useful to ponder what is unchanging, even as circumstances shift: God’s unvarying and infinite care for us as His children.

A Bible verse from the Evangelical Heritage Version highlights this: “All of us who reflect the Lord’s glory with an unveiled face are being transformed into his own image, from one degree of glory to another. This too is from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:18). For me, this promise implies the unstoppable outpouring of the infinite glory of Spirit, God, regardless of the changes happening on the human scene. This outpouring from God is the pure goodness of His own spiritual qualities and ideas – the spiritual reality, which can be experienced now, by everyone.

Mary Baker Eddy – who discovered Christian Science, wrote its textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” and established the Church of Christ, Scientist – faced many challenging changes throughout her life. But her deep love for and ever-growing understanding of Spirit’s unalterable love for all of us as God’s wholly good and spiritual offspring brought healing, inspiration, and strength, as well as clarity about the way to go forward despite the constantly changing circumstances of her own life.

Can we really feel God’s graciousness and steadfastness evidenced as going “from one degree of glory to another,” even when events seem unstable and unsteady? Truly we can.

There was a time many years ago when job titles and responsibilities at the organization where I was working took a completely different direction overnight. I really felt at sea.

So this was a time for prayer, which had always served me well and brought answers over the years. I really desired to be blessed, and to bless others, through this situation, even though at that moment the blessing sure wasn’t in sight.

I prayed to more consistently treasure and live what God created me to be: the kind and compassionate expression of divine joy. I also saw that I needed to strive more diligently to hear and obey God’s guidance with all my heart. I prayed for the stillness to feel God’s love that would never change one iota, no matter what was going on around me.

Through prayer, it became clearer to me that as the spiritual image of God, we can’t help but move in accord with Spirit. This is the one and only legitimate reality, and this spiritual fact makes it natural to yield to God’s caring direction. I felt more anchored in God’s – divine Love’s – permanent peace for all, even in the currents of human change.

Soon this enabled me to willingly accept a request from the organization to travel to another state to fulfill a special need for about six months. I was deeply grateful not only for the new perspectives that this opportunity provided, but also for the deeper understanding I gained of God’s immutable, pure goodness that never changes, regardless of circumstances. That feeling of peace remained even after that particular work ended, which enabled me to take new steps forward.

Right where things seem to be uncertain and vacillating, we can pray to feel God’s ceaseless, tender care, and experience more and more what it means to go “from one degree of glory to another.”

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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.