Untangling feelings of loss

Recently I read again the account of Christ Jesus overcoming temptation after his forty days and nights of prayerful fasting in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1–11). Each time I read this story I get something new out of it, based on the current circumstances of my day-to-day experience. This time it had a special message for me of how to address loss in all its forms through prayer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first suggestion the tempter made to Jesus was that he should turn stones into bread. Having fasted for so long, Jesus was hungry. Lack of supply, loss of nourishment, and loss of needed strength threatened. But Jesus met the temptation with this response: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus lived with the knowledge that man, as God’s, Spirit’s, offspring, is the spiritual idea of God, who is the one divine Mind. He knew that the Word of God supplies, strengthens, sustains, and supports God’s spiritual creation, and that knowing this is what brings God’s infinite, daily supply into our human experience. Jesus knew his need for sustenance would be met—but not by abusing the power given to him by God.

After taking Jesus “up into the holy city, and sett[ing] him on a pinnacle of the temple,” the tempter made a second suggestion to Jesus: that he jump off the temple to test the promise in the ninety-first Psalm that God’s angels would always protect him from harm. Having just prayed for forty days and nights, it might have been tempting to Jesus to see if all of that inspiration was just theory or if it could really be trusted. Loss of faith, loss of safety, loss of confidence, loss of spiritual grounding, and even loss of life threatened. But Jesus met these threats with the calm reply “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Indeed, Christ Jesus lived with the assurance that man’s protection is based on divine Principle. Because God is man’s divine Father and Mother, man lives and moves and has his being in God. Man, then, is always as safe as God is. We are safe because there is no power but God—no opposing force, law, or cause to threaten—so no need to test God, since His care is the only possibility.

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“You have no power over me”
July 13, 2020

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