Letting God lead
Originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel
I was a young soldier being reassigned at the time, and my wife and I had just been married. We arrived on the California coast and had just a few days to find our first "home" off base. We had worked with a real estate agent an entire afternoon, and nothing we could afford to rent seemed to satisfy us. But I reminded my wife of a verse in the Bible that says, "Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared" (Ex. 23:20).
After supper we went for a drive along the ocean, and just a block away, we happened to see a small cottage, shielded by a sand dune, with a small, handmade "For Rent" sign in the window. I immediately called the number and arranged to see the house the next day. It was affordable, and the sign had just been posted.
We learned later that the owner surmised that we were newlyweds. In fact, she even brought us fresh flowers during the first two weeks we were living there.
This small incident may sound like just another happy coincidence. But I had already thought along similar lines several times in graduate school when decisions had to be made, and had always felt the right answer had appeared. The thought that lay behind this Bible verse was that there is an intelligence, which most people use the word God to describe, that directs our affairs when appealed to.
I used to become confused between two concepts of God that seemed to contradict each other - one, that He is a transcendent, omnipotent Being totally apart from time and space; and another, that He is omnipresent, meaning that He is right here where you and I are. Then I realized that no concept of God could describe Him entirely, nor should it, since human words or modes of thought alone could not encompass the infinite.
When we admit to ourselves that God, whom Christian Science describes in part as infinite Mind, is omnipresent, we can take the next step in thought. That is to claim the intelligence of this infinite Mind as our own, to claim that we are not apart from the thoughts of this infinite intelligence, nor is any individual with whom we may be dealing. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, wrote that "Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear" (page 506).
Knowing that this Mind gives the ideas I need at each moment has freed me to expect and to make the right decisions, to make the right moves. As a journalist during part of my career, I often looked for guidance in such simple matters as how to be led to the most appropriate sources to interview when I was traveling abroad in a limited period of time. Letting the thoughts that come from God lead us, sometimes includes refusing to follow the lead of thoughts not in line with God. For instance, selfish motives - whatever arises from willful thinking - fall short of bringing human consciousness totally into line with the infinite.
In this turbulent period in world affairs, it's not too much to expect divine guidance to lead us to better outcomes than those that appear discernible at the moment. For nations to define exactly what other nations' best interests are - given the unique background and culture of every country - is akin to the exercise of self-will in one's own affairs. However, individually we can pray to discern the right path even in what appear to be situations beyond our influence. And I believe that as we envision the world God created as one of absolute harmony, we can look expectantly for more examples of human compassion and justice.
O how love I thy law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Through thy precepts
I get understanding:
therefore I hate every false way....
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalms 119:97, 204, 105