The promise that the government (in Iran and everywhere) is upon God's shoulder
A Christian Science perspective.
Near the top of the long list of what appear to be intractable issues confronting policymakers today are the crucial negotiations, due to resume this week in Geneva, regarding Iranâ€™s nuclear ambitions. An extreme test of statecraft faces negotiators seeking to accommodate Iranâ€™s desire for nuclear power for peacetime use while building a fire wall that would preclude the development and production of nuclear weapons. Within the Middle East, and especially between Iran and the United States, decades of mutual mistrust and antagonism cloud prospects for success.
But above and beyond conflicting national interests stands a magisterial fact, embedded in theÂ Lordâ€™s Prayer: â€śThy will be done.â€ť As the Bible says, everything is destined to conform to Godâ€™s leadings â€“ â€śto the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own willâ€ť (Ephesians 1:11). Mere human will, narrow self-interest, and selfish ambition all fall before the power and direction of God, divine Love, to unify and establish the brotherhood of man.
Praying from the basis that the government is upon Godâ€™s shoulders, one begins to comprehend the irresistible, divine influence that governs the seven-nation talks over Iranâ€™s nuclear future, coordinating, adjusting, reconciling differences, and compelling progress. Unity is not a matter of many human minds coming together but of the one Mind, God, expressing itself through individual human consciousness, through each of its spiritual ideas. As the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote: â€śI once thought that in unity was human strength; but have grown to know that human strength is weakness, â€“ that unity is divine might, giving to human power, peaceâ€ť (â€śMiscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,â€ť p. 138).
The fact that one omnipotent God governs man and the universe speaks to the existence of an irresistible centrifugal influence that bridges all political, religious, and cultural divides. It aligns all human interests with the design of God. And it counteracts the centripetal forces of ignorance, exaggerated nationalism, and the warlike tendencies in human nature. God, divine Mind, is expressing Himself perpetually in human consciousness. And every one of His children hears, responds to, and obeys His voice. â€śOut of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,â€ť Moses said of God, â€śthat he might instruct theeâ€ť (Deuteronomy 4:36).
Not nationalism but the fact that man is created in the image of God constitutes the foundation of all true identity, and it is this that establishes the basis for true brotherhood and for the peaceful resolution of all human conflict.Â Â
Divine Mind has unlimited means to achieve peace among nations. In the face of doubt and skepticism, we can take heart that God works in ways that neither human history nor the human intellect can necessarily anticipate.
Mrs. Eddy writes that Christian Science â€śreveals Truth and Love as the motive-powers of manâ€ť (â€śScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures,â€ť p. 490). The only impelling influence at work in the thought of all involved in the negotiations operates to achieve peace. It counteracts greed, the conflicting pull of divisive ideologies, the weight of national histories. And it does so by elevating ambition and purifying motives. Man is impelled by God, divine Love, to rise above personal and national interests in service to a higher good that protects and preserves the interests of all involved.Â
Viewing the prospects for a successful resolution to the issues on the negotiating table through the lens of Godâ€™s government, we can see that man is not governed by narrow interests but by the kindly impulses of divine Love. That the sons and daughters of Godâ€™s creating are not conduits for heated passions but, controlled by divine intelligence, express only the qualities of brotherliness, forgiveness, and respect. â€śWhen a manâ€™s ways please the Lord,â€ť Proverbs says, â€śhe maketh even his enemies to be at peace with himâ€ť (16:7).
The Old and New Testaments provide striking examples of the power of prayer to resolve the most complex and seemingly hopeless circumstances. This demonstrated equation between prayer and progress should provide encouragement, even when prospects for peace seem fragile and vulnerable.Â
â€śThe effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,â€ť says the book of James (5:16) â€“ even the attainment of peace among nations.