Certainty in uncertain times
First appeared as a Web Original on March 26, 2020
I’ve heard it said that the one thing you can count on is that you can’t count on anything. The uncertainties of human existence would tend to support such a sentiment. But are chaos and variableness really the principles behind existence, or is there another, more reliable Principle that we can base our lives on?
I grew up singing a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal that has pointed my thought to the divine Principle that is God. The hymn begins,
In heavenly Love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?
(Anna L. Waring, No. 148 ).
At first glance this may seem merely comforting, but take another look, and the message is affirmative and powerful. What a startling concept—“No change my heart shall fear;… for nothing changes here.” Where is this “here” where nothing changes? The hymn states it right up front: “In heavenly Love,” which is another name for God.
God isn’t a person who sits in the clouds picking and choosing whom to listen to and what to fix.
I’ve learned through my study of Christian Science that God isn’t a person who sits on a throne in the clouds picking and choosing whom to listen to and what to fix. God is the Principle of the universe, the divine Mind that is lovingly knowing all of creation into expression. God is unchanging, divine Principle—fixed, stable, perfect, and constant.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea,—perfect God and perfect man,—as the basis of thought and demonstration” (p. 259 ). To me this means that the whole of existence is one infinite Principle, Mind, and its infinite manifestation, man and the universe. God is All-in-all. This is the “here” where nothing changes.
But what about life’s storms that roar around us? We can’t be simplistic about this. And it’s not appropriate to pretend that nothing needs to be solved when humanity is crying out for healing. However, the apparent hugeness of global and personal problems does not present a legitimate reason for setting aside the certainty of divine Principle; it actually demands an even greater reliance on Principle.
What I am learning is that these situations don’t actually present truth or reality, but are distortions, misinterpretations, or even total denials of the one and only Truth, or God. Much the way the earth appears flat from any place you stand on it, even though it is actually round and would be seen as round from out in space, life seems limited and finite from our personal viewpoint. Yet all the while our life is unlimited and eternal and is always seen that way from the standpoint of divine Mind, God, our real Life. So behind everything we perceive through the limited viewpoint of our physical senses is a useful spiritual idea that can be seen from God’s, Mind’s, viewpoint.
The Bible is full of examples of individuals who were faced with uncertain prospects from their personal perspectives, but who through prayer—listening for God to reveal the infinite viewpoint—experienced often dramatic healing shifts. More of the divine reality was revealed, thus meeting urgent needs for health, food, shelter, and deliverance from enemies.
Our lives and our livelihoods are immovably fixed in Principle and Love, where our perfection is unshakable.
There is a necessary quality of thought—humility—that allows such discernment to go on. Christ Jesus showed us this so thoroughly. Jesus was willing to let God be the one Ego. His whole life demonstrated God’s loving control. He taught his followers to pray, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10 ), and said, “I can of mine own self do nothing:... I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30 ). It takes a willingness to give up our own view of things and let God be the interpreter of His own universe. Science and Health explains: “The divine Principle of the universe must interpret the universe. God is the divine Principle of all that represents Him and of all that really exists. Christian Science, as demonstrated by Jesus, alone reveals the natural, divine Principle of Science” (p. 272 ).
The one and only infinite, certain Principle of existence is here now, and we can actually practice exchanging our limited material view for the spiritual, perfect view as Jesus did, and bring out the certainty of healing. The way Jesus lived his divinity in his human experience resulted in his resurrection and ascension. His unprecedented example showed us how we too can see everything from the infinite viewpoint of divine Principle, Mind, and work out our salvation from material limitation. He showed us how to abide in the allness of divine Love with concrete assurance by living our spiritual identity as we move through and transcend our human experience.
From Jesus we learn the advantage of letting God interpret His universe. For every bit of this yielding to God’s viewpoint we experience freedom with regard to our health, our finances, and our concerns for the world, and we feel a release of fears for our loved ones and mankind. We are relieved of uncertainty about our lives, and this brings the confidence in and certainty of God as immortal and indestructible Life into our present experience.
My life has had countless examples of the healing effects of such prayerful yielding to God’s viewpoint. One such occasion was years ago when I was experiencing pain in my chest. As I prayed over several days to know that God is the immortal Life of all, and that as Life’s reflection I am as eternal and immortal as God, the pain lessened. But one afternoon it became suddenly intense. At this moment I felt a great mental shift—a release of “my” life and my efforts to pray to keep myself alive—toward God as Life. I was filled with a certainty that God alone causes life and takes care of life, because Life is God. In short, all that is necessary to Life, God, is God. The pain stopped instantly and never returned.
We can be confident in the certainty that everything we see with our physical senses is not fixed fact. Yes, we may have to practice yielding to the spiritual reality of God’s universe in order to more clearly see normalcy and harmony, but with God’s help we are always capable of doing this. Our lives and our livelihoods are immovably fixed in Principle, divine Love, where our perfection is unshakable. With this knowledge, we can be up and running to meet the challenges of human life with healing grace and humility.