When Answers Aren't Obvious
WE often hear--or say ourselves, "I just don't see a way out! Whether we're thinking of large issues in the international arena or some personal challenge in our own lives, it seems much easier to describe the difficulty than it is to solve the problem.
Perhaps what often hinders our problem solving is a reluctance to concede that there is a right answer, a genuine, single, achievable way to do what's right and essential. In fact, sometimes it's easier to feel that difficult problems have many conflicting views and interpretations and that solutions, as a result, can't be simple, uncomplicated, and direct.
Yet what if we begin from a different standpoint, from the position that there is a right answer to every difficulty and that through prayer we can take recourse to God, who is wise, all-intelligent, and good? Admittedly this may seem like a very radical position to take as long as we're not accustomed to including God at the outset of our decisions. Such a position might seem something like trying to understand a language that is foreign to us, or like trying anything that we haven't done before. We've got to be willing to listen, to wait, and to persevere, much as we do whenever we've started something new, but very worthwhile and rewarding.
Yet the moment we're willing to quiet our own human opinions and previous assumptions and turn to God, we open our lives to infinite possibilities. Spiritual answers from God have boundless ways in which they can appear in our lives. Reaching out to the one liberating Truth, or Christ, that Christ Jesus understood and lived doesn't yield a blanket, take-it-or-leave-it solution to the difficulties we face in our lives. On the contrary, the Christ as man's true, spiritual selfhood, or nature, opens up a co ncrete understanding within us that we are God's spiritual child and that our divine Parent doesn't abandon His children or leave them to suffer.
But, we may naturally ask, why should we feel confident that we can turn to God and that this will make a real difference to human hardships? Well, this is one question whose answer grows much as our own trust and love grow for someone that we come to know better, understand more thoroughly, and have greater confidence in the longer we're with him or her.
If we don't know someone well, it may be difficult to trust that person until friendship has had an opportunity to develop strong roots through experience. But such friendships do develop, and they happen as we learn to work with one another and thereby understand one another better. A similar relationship and understanding needs to develop in our lives regarding God. We need to know Him better.
We need to take first steps and further steps in turning to God, relying upon Him, and wanting to know Him better. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, says this about the effects of gaining a better understanding of God in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.
Countless people have proved that prayer which really seeks God's direction gives us a genuine understanding of God through Christ, His true idea, or creation. And furthermore, this understanding is within our innate spiritual capacities as His children. Hurt, confusion, fear--these are not of God's making nor are they of His will for us. God is creator, but not of human discords and conflicts. And because He is not the creator of evil or wrong, these do not genuinely belong to His creation or to us.
We can stop trying to adjust our lives simply to reduce hardships and can instead recognize that our true life is spiritual and includes in the deepest sense no requirement for anything that is unlike God, infinite good. This truth in itself begins to change our thinking, lifting it up in a moral and spiritual sense. You might say that we become, then, more spiritually-minded, better able to commune with God in the language of love, trust, and wisdom.
This spiritualization of thought brings healing in its wake. That is, when our thought is spiritually enlightened--and by virtue of this fact--we begin to see possibilities and responses to difficulties that we hadn't seen before. This is God's way of responding to what we consider the problems and pains of our lives--by uplifting our thought and regenerating the very nature of our attitudes, ambitions, and purposes through the purifying activity of Christ, Truth.
Pointing to the Christ, man's true spiritual selfhood as the idea, or creation, of God, Christ Jesus saw Christ as coming to men and women as a light in darkness. "I am come a light into the world, the Gospel of John records the Master as saying, "that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. When confronted with problems, we don't need to remain in the darkness of doubt or despair. We have immediate recourse to God and His Christ. As we yield to God's direction--knowing that we can rely o n Him--we'll learn step by step that there is always a healing way to the answer that we need.
Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer;
and attend to the voice
of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble
I will call upon thee:
for thou wilt answer me.
Psalms 86:6, 7