Getting to the root of the problem
Every gardener knows that to remove a weed, you have to get to its root. Just cutting off the top doesn’t eliminate the weed or its damaging effects. So it is with any problem. In order to fully resolve the issue, you have to discern and extract the root—the problem behind the problem.
Case in point: Years ago, a roommate and I had lived in an apartment for a week or so without furniture. We both had entry-level positions with low salaries and were waiting for our first month’s paychecks just to buy beds. One Saturday morning, after another night sleeping on the floor, it dawned on me that turning to God might bring a solution. Was there something I could know about my creator, some spiritual truth I needed to understand, that would change my thinking and therefore my experience? Was this a financial problem or was it a metaphysical—a theological—one?
I had learned from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that our need is always to better understand God and our relation to Him. Science and Health says, “God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love” (p. 465 ). I turned my thought to infinite Mind, and in that moment it became very clear to me that I could fully trust that our heavenly Father-Mother, divine Love, was able to bring forth immediately all that I needed. It was possible. I recognized that infinite Love has unlimited resources and is continually blessing each of us as God’s loved child. As I saw this, my perspective shifted from reliance on a limited, material basis to a greater acceptance and understanding of divine Mind’s infinite possibilities. It was as though a light had been turned on in a dark room, and the light had a direct effect on my outlook and experience.
Christ Jesus’ approach to resolving a problem was to expose the root, which was always a misunderstanding of the nature of God and God’s relation to His children. Jesus taught and proved both the supremacy of Spirit, God, over all material limitations and the healing effects of that understanding. Mrs. Eddy explained Jesus’ teachings, writing, “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony” (Science and Health, p. 390 ).
What a difference it would make to consider the possibility that the root of every problem is a theological need and that every solution is in understanding more about God. The understanding and acknowledgment that God is one Mind, for example—and that as God’s children, we can express only that one Mind—can heal family divisions and tribalism. The understanding that God is Principle and orders His universe with perfect harmony can free us from feeling vulnerable to randomness, accidents, and chaos. The growing understanding that God is all-encompassing Love redeems us from corrosive thinking and behavior, such as hateful speech and actions. An understanding that God is Soul and that each of us is cherished and valued as Soul’s unique expression can help disarm racism, prejudice, and cruel stereotypes. We can see and acknowledge more fully the reality of God’s goodness and spiritual creation as ever here and ever operative.
But what about times when we feel blocked from, resistant to, or ignorant of a clear understanding of God—as though there’s a mind or power opposing God? God communicates to each of us through Christ, which is “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Science and Health, p. 332 ). Christ reveals to us the all-power of God and the fallacy of anything seeming to oppose God. Our sincere prayer, thoughtful study of the divine Science that Mrs. Eddy discovered, and spiritual reasoning help us receive these Christ messages, which identify and displace in our thought the root of the problem—what’s not of God—and lead us to an enriched understanding of God’s continuous, glorious goodness.
And as for my need for furniture? After that morning of gaining fresh insight and being fully expectant of God’s infinite capacity to provide precisely what we needed when we needed it, I went to an event, sat down next to a stranger, enjoyed a conversation, and made a joke about not having any furniture. Then I quietly thanked my Father-Mother God when the lady looked at me and replied, “My husband and I are moving to California next weekend. We have been looking for someone who needs our furniture.” And she said they would just give it to us. In short order, our entire apartment was beautifully furnished, complete with lamps, linens, and dishes. Experiencing the effect of a deeper understanding of Love’s infinite ability has had a lifelong impact. “What cannot God do” (Science and Health, p. 135 ) for any of us?
Jan Keeler Vincent, Guest Editorial Writer