Asking the Right Question
ARE you having difficulty finding an answer to a predicament in your life? The problem may be that the right question hasn't yet been asked. Our questions often come this way: Why can't I be free? Am I ever going to get out of this mess? How can I stop hurting? Sad to say, these questions often leave us feeling less confident about the outcome than we'd like.
The Bible provides another kind of question, referring to God: ``Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?'' And the answer comes: ``If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.''1
It's reassuring to realize that even in tough situations we can confidently trust that God, good, is actually present and that He is able to keep us from harm.
Recently I was faced with sudden acute pain. This was the last thing I needed because I had a busier-than-usual schedule and was preparing for a business trip during which I was slated to speak to a large group of people.
My first reaction to the pain was ``Why now? Why me?'' But then I realized that to be free to continue my work unencumbered by pain, I would have to rethink the questions. So then I asked, ``What exactly does God, divine Mind, know about me right now?''
So my new question was, in effect, an answer. It reminded me that God is the one supreme, intelligent cause, the only creator of reality, who makes man in His likeness, perfect and whole forever. (See Genesis, chapter 1.) This was an immediate help, and it led to my freedom from pain in a matter of minutes.
This experience showed me the value of listening to the questions more carefully. It helped me to realize that it's the steady, unvarying goodness of God which holds solutions to our troubles and that knowing Him better is essential to being better. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy2 there is a definition of God, part of which reads: ``The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal.''3 And another passage of the same book says, ``It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.''4
To understand Him, to have our harmony restored, demands our attention to what He is and what He knows and does. This is the exact opposite of the usual human procedure taken to solve problems -- gathering information about symptoms and trying to work from there to improve conditions.
The most effective way is to begin with the spiritual facts as revealed in the Bible: that God is the one creator, establishing man in His spiritual image, perfect and eternal. When we reason from this basis, feeling and knowing this truth in prayer, we are less impressed with the reports of the physical senses. Our questions are no longer plaintive or pleading, doubtful of satisfying answers, but confident reminders that we are known and loved by God.
This is what healed me of pain.
1Psalms 139:7-10. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health, p. 587. 4Ibid., p. 390.