A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people
There's a certain place I love to go to, where everything seems all right. Maybe you have a place like that, and if you do, then you know how exciting it is when a trip to your special place is coming up. A couple of years ago I had planned such a trip. Everything was set until a few hours before we were to leave. Then something came up suddenly, and we had to cancel the trip.
I was so disappointed I could hardly stand it. I couldn't think of anything else. But I had to. And the practical part of me knew that. To get a grip on myself, I decided to ask God to help me. Maybe that sounds like an unusual thing to do, but I like to think of God as my companion throughout my day. When things go wrong it feels very natural for me to pray to see the situation from His viewpoint.
The first thing that occurred to me was that God is the only source of intelligence and power. So that means God, the only Mind there is, helps us know everything we need to know and do. He has a purpose for us every moment. And when we are clear about following His purpose for us, we find happiness. As I thought about this, I realized that God never intended for me to be disappointed. God is Love-and this divine Love is without limits. God doesn't dangle good things in front of us and then jerk them away.
To find God's help, we need to see what He is guiding us to do and to be. And when we are obedient to this guidance, life is satisfying and enjoyable. Actually, it's only when someone turns away from God that he or she gets in trouble.
Sinning isn't just cheating and stealing. It's also believing there's some other power or source of satisfaction than God. The woman who founded the Christian Science Church wrote, "There can be but one Mind, because there is but one God; and if mortals claimed no other Mind and accepted no other, sin would be unknown" (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 469). As I thought about not being able to go where we'd planned, I found I had been thinking I needed this trip in order to be happy. But really, I could be happy anywhere because I was (and still am) inseparable from God. He is the source of true happiness, so feeling good doesn't depend on your location, on having a certain item of clothing or sports equipment, or even on who's with you. Good really comes from being with God in your thoughts.
When Jesus Christ was helping and healing people, he proved this. There must have been times when the inability of his followers to understand what he was teaching them was very disappointing (see Mark 9:33-40 and Matthew 16:5-12, 21-23). And the scholarly people of Jesus' time, the scribes and the Pharisees, gave him flack. They accused him of being a bad person, even when they themselves were the ones acting wrongly (see Matthew 23:23-39). Ultimately, they plotted to kill him.
Yet with all the disappointments he faced, Jesus was able to find peace in his unity with God and in his understanding that God, his Father (and ours), could be trusted completely. God would never leave him disappointed. At one point he told his listeners, "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak" (John 12:49). To me, this means that Jesus was so aware God was with him that he didn't think about doing anything without God's help.
This helped me as I thought about the disappointment I was feeling. I realized I could have prayed more before making up my mind to take that trip. But I also felt more sure that God never wants us to be hurt, even when we make a mistake. That's one reason why prayer is so helpful when things go wrong. Sometimes our prayers show that there is a much better thing to be doing than what we had planned. But still, we won't feel disappointed that things didn't work out.
After I prayed, my friend and I ended up doing something closer to home that was actually better. And I had just as much fun. I was totally free of the disappointment!
Other articles on Christian Science can be found in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.