Lean on God
A Christian Science perspective: Reaching out to God in prayer can change everything.
“But how do I do that?”
My voice had risen to a pitch usually reserved for frustrated toddlers. My friend, however, was unperturbed.
“Ask God,” she said. “He’ll show you.”
This friend hadn’t been the first to tell me this – that in a time of crazy work obligations and escalating stress I could lean on God. But this well-meaning refrain only stressed me out more. What did it really mean to lean on God? And how could that help? It wasn’t as if God could type out the 10,000 words I needed to write between now and next week.
Still, my friend’s message stayed with me, and later that night, I did what she’d suggested. I reached out to God in prayer and asked how to lean on Him. The answer I got surprised me – and changed everything.
“What do you mean, lean?” came the thought. “Why would you lean if we’re already one?”
The fact of our oneness with God has often been a vexing topic for theologians. After all, Christ Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). But what did he mean by “one”? “One” as in one and the same? “One” as in unified?
I love the way Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, clarified this important point when she wrote, “Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God. This declaration of Jesus, understood, conflicts not at all with another of his sayings: ‘I and my Father are one,’ – that is, one in quality, not in quantity. As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 361).
Knowing that we’re one with God doesn’t make us little gods, nor does it in some way diminish God’s centrality. In fact, understanding our oneness actually clarifies our relationship to Him.
The mistaken notion of a material universe, in which each of us exists independently – living our own lives, working out our own destiny, operating at the mercy of an individual mind – is one that would put us in the center of everything, turning God into some distant, mostly powerless entity, or removing Him from the picture entirely. By contrast, the facts that Christian Science sets out – that God is Spirit, and that His universe, as the expression of His nature, is entirely spiritual – show God to be God. They assign all the power, intelligence, activity, and glory to Him. We reflect these qualities, but we are not their source.
If we think that leaning on God implies a separation from God, then we’ve accepted a faulty sense of it. We can lean on God because we are one with Him. We are not somehow “over here,” living our own lives, needing to draw God into a fraught material experience. On the contrary, what really freed me from the stress of time and work obligations was the recognition that materiality and all its limitations had nothing to do with me. They are a misperception about God and creation and, therefore, have no authority.
The saving grace for each of us is that everything we do, and everything we are, has its basis in God. He is cause and we are effect. He is the source and we are the expression. To understand our oneness with Him is to know so completely that we have no life or being of our own, but that we emanate from divine Life, are included in the divine Being.
No, 10,000 words didn’t magically appear on my computer screen. But as I acknowledged divine Mind as my Mind, I found the ideas flowing readily. As I understood that God is the source of all movement, I found my pace steady and my stamina unflagging. As I thanked God for being Soul, the source of all creativity, I could shed the burden of having to be independently brilliant.
Not much in the world around us points to the profound unity with God that Jesus demonstrated. But the genius of Christian Science is that it shows us that this oneness is actually inescapable. In spite of what we seem to be going through, we are in fact God’s expression, right here and now – and that understanding supports us and meets our needs. Our indissoluble link with Him means that we can feel this oneness – and experience its liberating, sustaining effects.