Finding solid ground
A verse from the Bible’s book of Psalms steadies me: “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along” (40:2, New Living Translation). These powerful visual images always help me understand what feeling “grounded” truly means.
Some may associate being grounded with being firmly anchored to a dependable friend or relative, a home or church family, a stable career or volunteer work, or a stable natural environment. Our comfort may rest in these things. However, much of humanity is feeling uprooted and experiencing instability. Perhaps a family is being torn apart by divorce or addiction, or a loved one has passed on. People may be struggling with homelessness, or having to move around because of climatic or economic conditions. Perhaps sickness or loneliness prevents someone from engaging in normal activities.
It’s heartening to know that, whatever our circumstances at the moment, we can reach out and find a present, anchoring comfort in our Father-Mother God. The great Caregiver and dependable healing presence has saved and healed many from Bible times to today. This healing presence, God, divine Spirit, is here now encircling you, helping you to find, to recognize, solid ground, including health and a stable purpose. And because we are God’s own children, made in His image and likeness, we reflect Him and are spiritual. This fact buoys us when we feel vulnerable and tossed around by material circumstances beyond our control.
In the Bible, Moses’ life included many experiences of being uprooted. He was separated from his mother at birth, and then went from being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter to fleeing for his life after killing an Egyptian slavemaster who was hurting a Hebrew. He went from being a wealthy adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter to a nomadic shepherd. These would have been major, ground-shaking life changes for any of us.
Later, while shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep, Moses came to Mount Horeb, where he saw a burning bush and wondered why it was not consumed by the fire. As Moses came near the bush, he heard God say, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).
We can find a present, anchoring comfort in our Father-Mother God.
Standing reverently in the holy presence of God, Moses felt God’s reassuring direction and protection. And he found a purpose and security in listening for and following God’s guidance. In leading the children of Israel toward the Promised Land, he was called to exchange material forms of security for a stable spiritual purpose rooted in God’s undeviating control. Under this higher law of control, there could never be a “consuming” of his solid, purposeful place and usefulness for mankind.
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy explains, “As the crude footprints of the past disappear from the dissolving paths of the present, we shall better understand the Science which governs these changes, and shall plant our feet on firmer ground” (p. 224).
Like Moses, we can hear, through spiritual sense, the call to dwell in the reverent consciousness of divine Truth and Love and challenge thoughts that seem to be ruining our sense of peace, self-worth, security, home, health, or environment. God’s call invites us to remove our “shoes,” turn from any temptation of false trusts and merely material efforts, and stand secure in trusting and seeking to understand Him with all our heart. We will see that by His grace we are standing, and will always stand, secure on not only solid but holy ground.
During my years of rock climbing and tree-trimming work, I spent many hours high off the ground, looking for secure places to put my hands and feet. Many times I heard angel thoughts, messages from God, telling me what to do or where not to go. I would sometimes pray with one of Mrs. Eddy’s poems, “ ‘Feed My Sheep’ ” (Poems, p. 14), which has been set to music in the Christian Science Hymnal. The first verse begins, “Shepherd, show me how to go / O’er the hillside steep,” and it finishes with, “I will follow and rejoice / All the rugged way.” There were times when a mistaken foot- or handhold, or climbing position, was corrected as I listened for divine Mind to instruct my steps; and I would be able to safely return to ground level.
The Bible encourages us to find the solid spiritual ground that is our true comfort zone.
One large tree-removal project required cutting the trunk in sections and lowering each section to the ground with a rope. At one point, as I was secure in my harness with chain saw in hand, a stub on one of the sections rotated and snagged my chain-saw rope, pulling the saw out of my grasp. The chain was still spinning as the saw fell down past my legs, shaving off some of my pants material. My legs were untouched. I was shaken but became quiet, and I began to thank God for the security of my being, and for the fact that I live and move in Him (see Acts 17:28). It felt to me as though I was in His presence, safely on solid spiritual ground, even though I was up in the air.
Over the next few weeks, my gratitude deepened as I saw even more that I had never been nor ever could be in a separate orbit outside of God’s presence. There is no orbit out of God’s presence, and a fuller assurance came as I saw God, divine Love, as a protective “canopy” over all right motivation and action. In her poem “Mother’s Evening Prayer,” Mary Baker Eddy helps us think of God’s protection by using imagery of a bird’s feathers: “Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight,” and “Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing” (Poems, p. 4). Within this sanctuary of our secure relatedness to God, Spirit, we stand and progress.
Numerous times I have also leaned on the law of God’s stability when I have been required to make major changes in my life. My comfort zone was the rural mountain settings I had grown up in, and I felt displaced when work requirements found me in a city filled with concrete and busy, bustling streets.
During one such move, I found myself standing with suitcase in hand in front of a massive building where I was to work. My first thought was, “How on earth did I end up here?” A somewhat humorous angel message from God came: “You, My friend, are a fully self-contained trailer!” I thought about how a trailer, or motor home, contains within it every needed thing. God was saying to me, “I make you complete; I give you all you need here and now.” With that truth, feeling securely grounded in God’s unchanging love, I had the confidence to open that door and walk in, and I experienced many blessings in that job.
The Bible encourages us to find the solid spiritual ground that is our true comfort zone. Right now, in this place, we live and move in Him. And no matter the situation, when we stop to stand in awe of God’s holy presence, we are rooted on solid ground and guided with assurance.