A Christian Science perspective.
We all want our lives to be orderly, don’t we? It’s natural to want events to make sense, and when things don’t go as planned – especially when challenges seem beyond our understanding or control – we may feel threatened and uncertain of which steps to take. In times like these, it can even be difficult to trust God. Some may wonder where He is and why He isn’t answering their prayers. But it’s at these very times, more than ever, when an understanding of God’s role in our lives can bring peace and comfort.
I recall a time when a caring and selfless friend passed on unexpectedly. She was a wife, a mom, and a care provider for several people. So many people loved and depended on her, and I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why her? Why now?”
I had studied the Bible and Christian Science long enough to feel convinced that my friend wasn’t really gone – she was continuing to express God, divine Life. I felt comforted by that spiritual fact, but I still felt concern for others who wondered how they’d manage without her. I turned to the Bible and to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded this newspaper, for answers and assurance.
In her textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy counsels: “Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious – as Life eternally is – can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not” (p. 495). As we steadfastly pray and trust God, we will learn that we can depend on Him to provide us with the comfort, guidance, and peace we need.
As I prayed about this idea, a clearer understanding came to me through an analogy with movies. We always care about the main character in a movie, especially if he or she is a selfless, relateable character. As the plot unfolds, this character faces challenges that lead to the climax of the story, at which point a happy ending is usually revealed. But if we were to walk out of the theater just prior to that pivotal point, we wouldn’t discover that ending and might leave thinking the worst, unaware of what really happened.
I think viewing life from a limited, material perspective is similar to leaving the theater early. When something unexpected or distressing takes place, it’s easy to become fearful, to wonder how we’ll cope. Contrast this with the spiritual view Mrs. Eddy offers in her textbook: “Step by step will those who trust Him find that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ ” (p. 444). It may seem very difficult to understand and deal with life’s challenges, but we are never adrift – God’s gentle guidance is in place. We don’t have to know the details right away or all at once. It is enough to know that in His kingdom, our reality as children of God, Love prevails and is the source of true security for each of us. As this fact becomes clearer to us, we’ll see that whatever we need is and will be provided.
Life goes on, but always with our heavenly Father’s guidance and provision. I find comfort in knowing that after my friend’s passing, I and other loved ones are enfolded in God’s care. As we acknowledge God’s ever-presence, we’ll become aware that our lives consist of a series of answered prayers instead of disappointments or sadness.
If there are times when we can’t sense God’s guidance, we needn’t become discouraged, question our worthiness, or doubt His presence. We can recall Jesus’ words to his followers: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12, 13). This spirit of Truth is present today, and we are given the insight we need. Our task is to persevere, step by step; sometimes a simple and humble prayer is enough to express our sincerity and willingness to trust God. Whether praying for ourselves or others, we can be assured that God’s provision is always available to His children, and that it’s always and only good.