Expect God’s goodness . . . immediately!
Several years ago, a friend shared an experience during the Wednesday meeting of our branch Church of Christ, Scientist. She’d been with her three-year-old son at a hotel pool, and as she turned to set her things down, her child stepped off into the deep end of the pool. She had rushed over to the pool’s edge, ready to jump in, but just then her son popped back up to the surface near the side, where she could easily pull him to safety. The boy was unafraid. As he was toweled off, the mother asked him what he was thinking when he fell in. He said, “Mama, I don’t know how to swim, so I said, ‘Get under me quick, God!’ ” He expected to be helped by God and was saved.
When we expect immediate help from God, we receive it. Why is this so? The Bible tells us that God is ever present. Christian Science further brings out that God is all-acting and full of love for us. God is our Father-Mother, and we can never step out of Her care. God has created us spiritually: indestructible, innocent, free from harm. To turn to God, as this little one did, is to anticipate—and then receive—only good.
Here’s an example from the Bible of instantaneous care: “As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” Jesus then assured her: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace” (Luke 8:42–44, 48, New International Version).
As Jesus reassured her, he called her “daughter.” This suggests to me that if we are to practice what Jesus taught, identifying ourselves and others as sons and daughters of God is important to experiencing God’s goodness. Jesus also told the woman that her faith had healed her and to go in peace. Can we expect the same goodness experienced by that woman in the Bible and the little boy at the pool?
When our children were preschoolers, and we were expecting our third child, my husband and I moved away from the small community where we had grown up. In that community lived both sets of parents, several siblings, and many school friends. Assistance was always at hand. For example, in the winter months, if someone got stuck in the snow, another would always arrive and help. But we knew no one in our new town.
Upon arrival, we bought a used car with the little money we had and drove to our new apartment, forty-five minutes down the highway. Suddenly, the car began to overheat, and we had to pull over. This was before cellphones, and we had no extra money to pay for a towing service, even if there had been one in that area. My husband, who was handy with cars, took a look under the hood and discovered a hose had come loose—it was easy to fix, but we needed to get off the highway to a water source.
As he was checking under the hood, with many cars passing by, I began to pray. I had prayed for and received the guidance we needed to accomplish all the tasks related to our move, and as I sat there in the car, I knew God, good, was present, directing our next step. I started singing a favorite hymn with the children. It was from a poem written by Mary Baker Eddy, and the first verse says:
Shepherd, show me how to go
O’er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,—
How to feed Thy sheep;
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.
(“ ‘Feed my sheep,’ ” Poems, p. 14)
It was late, the children were hungry for dinner, and fears started to creep in about what we would do if we were still there after dark. But then I remembered this comforting statement inscribed on one wall of our church in our previous location: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494). The word always means without fail, on every occasion, at every moment. Right where we were, divine Love, God, was present. As Love’s sons and daughters, we couldn’t help but practice what Jesus taught, identifying ourselves and others as children of God.
Just then a car pulled over, and some kind people handed my husband a jug of water and sped off. Stunned and grateful, he poured the precious water into our thirsty car, and we were on our way to a gas station, where we could cool our engine, reconnect the hose, and add water before driving safely on to our apartment. Those strangers so clearly expressed the selfless giving of divine Love, and our gratitude to them and to God overflowed.
As I was reflecting on this experience, I read these words of Mrs. Eddy: “St. Paul wrote, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’ And why not, since man’s possibilities are infinite, bliss is eternal, and the consciousness thereof is here and now?” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 330).
Our possibilities are infinite because the consciousness of God, Love, is constantly present. Since God is ever present, good is ever present. We can never drive away from or step out of Love’s care. We can anticipate and expect spiritual good. Like the woman in the book of Luke and my friend’s little boy in the pool, our family expected immediate help from God and received it—and so can you!