"Trials are proofs of God's care"

On first consideration it may not be apparent how trials can be proofs of God's care. The suffering caused by sin or disease, or by any other human condition, rarely appeals to the casual thinker as a blessing; yet in a sense which Christian Science sets forth, the afflictions of human existence play a great redemptive part in the lives of men. So much so, that Mrs. Eddy could write in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 66): "Trials teach mortals not to lean on a material staff,—a broken reed, which pierces the heart. ... Trials are proofs of God's care. Spiritual development germinates not from seed sown in the soil of material hopes, but when these decay, Love propagates anew the higher joys of Spirit, which have no taint of earth."

These are wonderful words. They break through the hard crust of material existence, showing its weakness and unreliability; they take the question of human suffering out of the region of the conjectural, exposing its material origin, and on the wings of inspiration carry one straight to the truth about God as Love and Spirit, pointing to the fact that the regeneration of mankind, with consequent freedom from suffering, can come about only as illusory material hopes vanish and spiritual sense illumines the way to spiritual living. Material sense is the seeming cause of all human suffering. Without suffering, mortals would continue to indulge in every conceivable orgy of materiality. Every trial they experience is the result of the clash between material sensuousness and the eternal law of Spirit, which decrees that spiritual living alone is legitimate. It is a fact beyond dispute that men have repeatedly been brought back to reason and righteous living through suffering. The sensualist, for example, overindulging himself in the use of foodstuffs or alcoholic beverages, is certain to be pulled up sooner or later by sickness. It is only after this has happened that many have looked upon the folly of their ways and amended them. Thus they have come to see that "trials are proofs of God's care," and that the suffering they endured was a call to examine their ways of thinking and living.

Thankfulness and Gratitude
November 24, 1923

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