Forecasts—not the final word
We may face all kinds of forecasts about our health, careers, and general well-being, as well as about the weather, economy, and government. But I’ve learned in Christian Science that instead of feeling bound by a forecast, we can seek in Christ “a more sure word of prophecy,” as a light shining in the dark places of human fear, to reveal God’s loving provision for all.
A forecast is material in origin and scope, based on knowledge gained from looking at the material picture rather than to God, Spirit, who is All. A forecaster compares current physical data with patterns in the past, determines a range of possible outcomes, and chooses what seems most likely. However scientific a forecast appears, the premise is fundamentally inaccurate, because material observation and laws don’t touch upon the spiritual facts of being.
A prophecy, however, is spiritual in origin and scope. It springs from fact, a revelation of divine Truth. In the epistle of Second Peter, we read: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: … For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (1:19, 21).
We can seek in Christ “a more sure word of prophecy.”
Prophets such as Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah—and above all, Christ Jesus, the Galilean Prophet—were moved by divine Spirit. They didn’t look to mortal belief or material sense for insights. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote, “The ancient prophets gained their foresight from a spiritual, incorporeal standpoint, not by foreshadowing evil and mistaking fact for fiction,—predicting the future from a groundwork of corporeality and human belief” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 84).
A spiritual standpoint opens for us the truth of what is going on now and forever. It is the light of divine Truth that frees humanity from the error of physical sense manifested in sickness, sin, suffering, and death. The definition of prophet in Science and Health is: “A spiritual seer; disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth” (p. 593).
The Bible’s Gospel of Mark includes an account of a materially based forecast contrasted with a spiritually based prophecy. Once when Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a fierce storm arose, and waves began to fill the ship (see Mark 4:36–41). Jesus was asleep. Waking him, the disciples fearfully predicted disaster—the loss of the boat and their lives. They were experienced fishermen. They made that forecast from their past experience with storms and from the physical conditions in front of them.
Jesus, however, did not accept the forecast: “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Jesus had full faith in and an understanding of the power of Truth to dissolve the material fable and reveal the harmony at hand. The storm vanished.
When faced with a dire forecast, what can we do? We can look to Christ, Truth, to discern spiritual truth and act as spiritual prophets. We can “arise.” Jesus demonstrated that the movement needed was the movement of individual thought as it rose from materiality to Spirit. When he faced the storm, Jesus arose; he lifted his thought to God. We can look to Christ and Christian Science for the spiritual facts that reveal God’s presence and power.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.
As we become conscious of spiritual reality, we can naturally rebuke or deny error or evil, following Jesus’ example when he rebuked the wind. In the allness of God, good, evil has neither place, right, nor power. Knowing the truth quiets fear and destroys the error. When Jesus spoke to the sea—he was actually addressing frightened human thought—the sea became calm.
The prophetic thought, or spiritual word given by the Holy Ghost, or divine Science, is transformative, like the dawn. It is discernment of spiritual fact. In that light, material storms are stilled. Such prophecy is God’s provision for healing and salvation today.
A year or two after I finished college, I became very ill. A medical specialist tested me, diagnosed hepatitis, and quarantined me. He predicted (forecasted) that it would take from two to six months of bed rest before I was well.
My parents invited me back home for the quarantine. I was grateful for their help at this difficult time. At the end of the first week I was a lot worse. The thought that I would be like this for many more weeks was very distressing.
I could be freed by learning more of spiritual reality.
In my need, I began to pray. I had been raised in Christian Science but hadn’t given much thought to it for several years. At this point I actively reached out to God. One thing I remembered from Christian Science Sunday School was that when we are in trouble, we can turn our thought away from the material picture and cling steadfastly to God—and hold our thought to Truth and Love.
I knew this was God’s direction. I saw that if I could hold to one clear spiritual truth and understand it more deeply, my thought would be lifted above the picture of aggressive illness and I would be freed. I realized that I could be freed by learning more of spiritual reality, which Christian Science explains.
I didn’t seem to have much mental clarity and my thoughts were all in a jumble, but I felt Christ guiding me to the fact that God is perfect Mind, the only Mind. There was no jumbled mortal, counterfeit mind. I held to this truth all that day. It lifted my thought above the material fog and into the light of divine Truth and Love. It was a sacred time for me.
By the next morning, all the symptoms had disappeared. Two days later I went to the local hospital to take the required test. The doctor said I was well and released me from quarantine. The forecast of a long illness was invalidated by divine Truth.
Instead of automatically accepting forecasts, we can stop for a moment and remember that a forecast is not the final word. It is simply a belief about our health, the economy, or even the climate. To gain the more certain word of prophecy—the spiritual reality, the fact of what is actually going on—we turn from material sense to divine Spirit. We can seek in Christ the light that shines in the darkness and reveals the presence of goodness, health, and harmony.