Substance we can rely on
Even when we’re faced with some type of loss or lack, the abundant goodness of the divine Spirit is here to guide, sustain, and heal.
Recent global news reports have told of people losing their homes or belongings or needing to leave them behind due to circumstances outside their control, such as weather disasters. This has pressed me to think more deeply about where we can find true, lasting substance.
The Latin root word for “substance” means “stand firm” and “to stand or be under,” giving the sense of something rock-solid and immovably established. As right and important as it is to have the things we need for our daily lives, material items aren’t permanent, nor do they really tell the full story or have the final say about our life and who we truly are.
The Expanded Bible points to a deeper way of thinking about substance when it says: “Faith means being sure [the assurance; or the tangible reality; or the sure foundation] of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it [the conviction/assurance/evidence about things not seen]” (Hebrews 11:1).
We might say that what’s most substantial is not material, but is pure spiritual goodness. This goodness is expressed in each one of us, and we can never lose it because it comes from God, who is infinite Spirit.
How powerful it is to glimpse the spiritual nature of true substance – to realize that permanent, divine goodness constitutes our very identity, even in the face of what appears to be loss. I have valued my study and practice of Bible-based Christian Science over the years because it has deepened my grasp of the true substance of my and everyone else’s real existence. The offspring of Spirit, including every one of us, are made in the likeness of Spirit and are therefore wholly spiritual. Our inseparable relation to God, divine Love itself, means that all the good that Spirit expresses is reflected in us.
From this premise it follows that each of us perpetually includes every needed spiritual idea and quality, including home, harmony, peace, and beauty. Although what we see with our eyes may tell us otherwise, these ideas and qualities are completely untouched by any human circumstance.
When we recognize such qualities as having their source in all-powerful and ever-present Spirit, this opens our eyes to experiencing these things with greater assurance in our daily lives – sometimes in ways we might not expect. Over the decades, when I’ve been faced with financial issues, difficulty finding a home, or health problems, praying to God for a deeper understanding of substance as spiritual has always brought uplift, restoration, and solutions.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this news organization, turned to the Bible and Christ Jesus’ teachings all her life. She knew what it was to experience loss, but the Bible was her great source of assurance and strength. For instance, when Mrs. Eddy was a young woman her first husband died, she was frequently ill, and her child was taken from her because others felt her chronically poor health wouldn’t enable her to care for him.
Mrs. Eddy found herself turning to God ever more deeply. Her profound study of the Bible ultimately culminated in her discovery of Christian Science, which conveys the solidity and permanence of divine Spirit as unchanging Life itself, no matter what the human scene looks like. This growing understanding completely transformed her thought and experience. It brought regeneration and healing not only to Mrs. Eddy’s life, but to many others’ as well.
In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy wrote: “Matter, with its mortality, cannot be substantial if Spirit is substantial and eternal. Which ought to be substance to us, – the erring, changing, and dying, the mutable and mortal, or the unerring, immutable, and immortal? A New Testament writer plainly describes faith, a quality of mind, as ‘the substance of things hoped for” (pp. 278-279).
Trusting the goodness of God as the very foundation of every aspect of our lives strengthens our confidence that there is a way to get through loss. Divine Love is always here to lovingly and tenderly guide our steps forward. Cherishing and expressing spiritual qualities such as faith and steadfastness enables us to listen for God’s constant guidance with conviction and expectancy. Recognizing Spirit as the source of inviolable substance uplifts our thought and gives us spiritual courage.
Then we begin to experience more of the God-given security and wholeness that underlie our nature and existence as God’s children.