WE rely on numbers to tell us all sorts of things: how much or how little provision will come from our income; how many pounds away we are from ``beauty''; how successful our business will be. Obviously, we couldn't live in a practical way without numbers. Nonetheless, we don't need to live for them. Too often numbers become severe and demanding taskmasters. We anxiously watch them go up and down and then set about with toilsome effort to change them. But how often that turns out to be a wild-goose chase! By nature, mortal, materialistic thinking is never more than temporarily satisfied with anything. It always wants more of this and less of that. Haven't we all discovered this at some point, in relation to the numbers that turn up on the bathroom scale, in our checkbook, on the stock market?
It's not really the numbers that need to change in order to silence the discontent. It's the discontent that needs to change! To find the peace, security, and stability we're looking for requires looking to the original and only source of good. And that is God. It requires spiritual perception to know the things of God, andChristian Science teaches that we all, innately, include spiritual sense. It's given to us by God. We become more aware of it, and cultivate it, through prayer and a progressive purification of thought.
Acting on God-given ideas discerned in prayer brings about tangible results. It does much to free us from superficial constraints, and it meets our needs in very practical ways. The spiritual recognition of God's goodness enabled the Psalmist to write, ``Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in orderunto thee: if I would declare and speakof them, they are more than can benumbered.''1 The Psalmist's conclusion should fill our hearts with tremendous reassurance and comfort. What God has to give us (and is pouring forth constantly) is infinitely more than can be numbered. And that's the mockery and travesty of our confining calculations. They would relentlessly clamp limits on every aspect of our lives when in fact Life, or God, is limitless.
There are simply no restrictions on God's infinite being. Christ Jesus proved this conclusively in his healing ministry. This is a fundamental point in the teachings of Christian Science, as this statement from a sermon by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes clear: ``The infinite can neither go forth from, return to, nor remain for a moment within limits. We must give freer breath to thought before calculating the results of an infinite Principle, -- the effects of infinite Love, the compass of infinite Life, the power of infinite Truth.''2
Because God is All, it follows that we can't possibly exist outside His allness but are included in it. Understanding this, coming to feel it through prayer, revolutionizes our expectations and experience. One by one, the meaningless limits we attempt to place on good fall away. When we lose the fear of being without good, we let go of the futile inclination to try to manipulate good. We realize that we can neither increase nor decrease, speed up nor hinder, the flow of good, because it is not ours to control. God alone controls and forever provides all good. It is as stable, dependable, and permanent as God.
Clearly, humanity has its work cut out to prove this. Many are without adequate food and shelter. Lack of one kind or another touches countless people. But a perception of spiritual truth can lead the way to great progress for all.
I've spent more time than I care to remember reacting to and worrying about all those familiar numbers: age and weight, income, corporate budgets, golf scores! The outcome of it all is very accurately described in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy: ``To calculate one's life-prospects from a material basis, would infringe upon spiritual law and misguide human hope.''3
I have a long way to go in learning about the abundant good God is providing for us as His children (and am far from relinquishing my pocket calculator). But experience has convinced me of the fact that God's provision for us is more than we can imagine -- let alone measure.
1Psalms 40:5. 2Christian Healing, p. 4. 3Science and Health, p. 319.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. I Corinthians 2:9