Trials which Bless

On page 574 of our textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy has given us this beautiful and comforting message: "The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares." To come upon words such as these at the moment when discord is casting its darkest shadow cannot but rouse us from either the lethargy of hopeless surrender to evil or the wasteful and destructive forces of bitterness and rebellion. Here, surely, may be found the incentive to destroy whatever in our consciousness has brought about, or permitted, the affliction, until these very experiences have been turned into blessings.

While passing through some distressing ordeal, how often the questions are asked, But why the experience at all? If God is Love, who knows and permits only good, why need these wrathful and afflictive experiences be visited upon His children? They need not be, and that their presence seems to be manifest in our lives indicates either insufficient understanding of the power and operation of God's laws or careless disregard of them. Were our loving Father's kind precepts understood and always obeyed, there would, of course, be no occasion for the chastening. The Israelites asked the same question many times, for they too were obliged to go the way that was long and difficult. We read in Exodus: "And it came to pass ...that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt." The forty years of hardship would not have been necessary had the Israelites been ready for the responsibilities and blessings which entrance into the promised land would bring. The above verse serves to show unmistakably that we cannot escape the process of correction. How long it will take, and whether the period is to be a trying or a happy one, will depend upon us. All of God's blessings are at hand now, to be used, enjoyed, and shared. We may avail ourselves of them just in the proportion that we turn willingly to the perfect model and obediently pattern it.

Perhaps our own fiery trials have been the only way to subdue harshness of temper, criticism, and resentment; to bring self-will and self-satisfaction into submission to God's will. So often we listen to the guiding voice of divine Love only in the dark hour of loneliness, sickness, and lack. But for the disciplinary experiences which force us to relinquish false human opinions and place unreserved trust in God, we would often be content to jog along in the old way, satisfied with a fairly good song, an occasional sweet tone, instead of being willing that all of unloveliness and discord be relinquished for that which really belongs to man made in the image and likeness of God. On page 240 of Science and Health is a gentle but emphatic reminder that if we persist in clinging to wrong in thought and conduct we shall have to be persuaded into the right path by the trials and disappointments which wrong invariably brings. We read, "Remember that mankind must sooner or later, either by suffering or by Science, be convinced of the error that is to be overcome."

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Freedom from Danger
August 11, 1928

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