THE world remains plagued with troubles. We can't wish these problems away. Whether they are in our own neighborhood or across the globe, problems demand our care and attention. And to succeed in dealing with them, we have to be solution oriented.
Thinking of valiant efforts being made around the world to solve problems reminds me of Job in the Bible. The lessons Job's story contains are invaluable. He was a good man. Yet illness, family tragedy, property loss, violence, all befell him. He persisted, however, in his love for God and his trust in God's loving and powerful care--even when others tried to dissuade him! In the end his life was redeemed, and all that he had lost was restored.
The story of Job gives us a good rule to follow if we are to be solution oriented. Though he was plagued with problems, his thought revolved around a desire to know more of God and His relationship to man; Job also prayed for the welfare of his friends. In a very real sense, he disciplined himself to think of one fact that is central to everything: God's presence. A commonly accepted idea is that God is powerful but remote. The Bible, however, explains Him as Love itself. Throughout the Bible--above all in the life and work of Christ Jesus--we find that God is not separate from what He creates. And this creation includes man.
This is not just a passive, neutral presence either. God's love is an active force. Can't we see this vividly in Jesus' work? His presence was a comfort, certainly, to those seeking relief from disease and sin. But what he brought wasn't a comfort that resigns itself to pain or injustice. Christ Jesus brought a vital, energizing comfort that roused his listeners to accept the strengthening love of God and find healing.
The ``Spirit of truth'' (John 15:26) that Christ Jesus so abundantly illustrated remains today as a vital element in God's love for man. As we open ourselves to it, it embraces our thought and actually baptizes it. It changes our thinking about the people we see every day, about our work, about the problems that come up.
In her Miscellaneous Writings Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, says of the powerful effect of this baptism of Truth: ``The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the spirit of Truth cleansing from all sin; giving mortals new motives, new purposes, new affections, all pointing upward. This mental condition settles into strength, freedom, deep-toned faith in God; and a marked loss of faith in evil, in human wisdom, human policy, ways, and means.'' And she continues in the next paragraph: ``By purifying human thought, this state of mind permeates with increased harmony all the minutiae of human affairs. It brings with it wonderful foresight, wisdom, and power; it unselfs the mortal purpose, gives steadiness to resolve, and success to endeavor'' (p. 204).
I once thought of myself as prone to problems. Then I found that the trouble really wasn't in ``the problems,'' but in what I had been thinking about myself. I had been allowing myself to stray considerably from the conviction that man made in God's image includes me. But of course, God's creation includes us all.
Recognizing this tendency helped. All my difficulties didn't instantly vanish, but I did see that I was not and am not ``problem plagued''! My thinking became more oriented toward solutions. I saw that by turning my attention to a solution--knowing that a God-sent idea was at hand to help in that regard--I was standing up for my membership in God's family. Such a stand helped show me the light of God's presence that is ever at hand with the solutions we need.