Better than grasshoppers
FAR too many adults as well as children find that certain growing-up experiences leave them with a sense of personal inferiority. Perhaps a youngster isn't as competent in mathematics as his classmates. He is graded lower than they are. After years of such judgment, his discouragement may tell him he is not only second-rate at math but a ``C'' person! For some (whether the discouragement is in athletics or reading or housework) this sense of inferiority creates a lifelong, stultifying struggle. In the Bible we read the account of Moses' preparation for leading his people out of their desert experience into Canaan, the land of promise. He sends men to spy out the land. They are to report back their recommendations on the possibility of a successful capture of that promise. Two of the scouts return saying that a great opportunity for gaining a fruitful homeland lies ahead. But the others report, ``There we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.''1
That description, ``We were in our own sight as grasshoppers,'' can sound altogether too familiar to some of us. What a contrast there is, however, between that statement and what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Science reveals the glorious possibilities of immortal man, forever unlimited by the mortal senses'' and ``The eternal Truth destroys what mortals seem to have learned from error, and man's real existence as a child of God comes to light.''2
What we have ``learned from error'' is usually limitation and belittlement. St. Paul would have none of this. He said, ``Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.''3
With this in mind, I worked, as a counselor, with a first-grader whose parents had chosen divorce. This young son's whims had been indulged completely. But now the divorce had shattered his sense of a complete and caring world. When I first met him, all he could express was rage. He would stand in the middle of the room and scream at the top of his voice until his breath gave out. In the classroom he could not bring his keen mind into focus. He isolated himself from his classmates as much as possible. Obviously, he thought of himself as a lowly grasshopper or something worse.
I didn't pray directly for this child, because I hadn't been asked to. But I did pray for spiritual understanding. For months, in the face of the anguished screaming, I held to the vivid truth that this young boy was actually the beloved of his heavenly Father-Mother (no divorce there) and as such was complete and perfectly cared for. As the weeks passed, a gradual transformation took place. It was as if, struggling in a rushing stream of uncertainty, his feet finally touched on a solid rock. He tested his new footing with questions rather than screams. I could see him build on this day after day. Today, several years later, he leads his class in both academics and sports and is ready for college. He is a poised young man.
Although I hadn't spoken to him about God's goodness and power, I had shared, in my actions and attitudes, my perception of him as God's innocent and complete child. And he responded in his actions and attitudes.
This was no miracle. It's what is in store for every one of us who can come to accept something of our true nature, reflecting the wholeness of God, enjoying His unlimited goodwill.
It is right that we, too, drop our ``C,'' ``D,'' or ``F'' concept of ourselves. We cannot express our real selves, our Godlikeness, if we allow ourselves to be in our own sight as grasshoppers.
The words of a hymn contain a summary of the matter: O Father-Mother God, whose plan Hath given dominion unto man, In Thine own image we may see Man pure and upright, whole and
free. And ever through our work shall
shine That light whose glory, Lord, is
1Numbers 13:33. 2Science and Health, pp. 288-289. 3I Corinthians 2:12. 4Christian Science Hymnal, No. 12. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Beloved, now are we the sons of God . . . I John 3:2