Can we be certain of anything these days?
A knowledge of God can have a helpful and practical impact on feelings of uncertainty.
With environmental concerns, conflicts around the globe, a pandemic, and a host of other serious issues facing us these days, life can seem pretty bleak, and the future uncertain. But even amid the stress and anxiety that many are feeling, there is one thing we can be absolutely certain of—that everyone has a divine right to know God.
Centuries ago, the prophet Elijah made the bold declaration, “Let it be known this day that thou art God” (I Kings 18:36). And as we learn from the Scriptures, to know God is to know Truth. In Christian Science, Truth is a synonym for God, and a knowledge of God, or Truth, can have a very helpful and practical impact on feelings of uncertainty.
According to the thesaurus on merriam-webster.com, uncertainty means “a feeling or attitude that one does not know the truth . . . .” A natural conclusion would then be that certainty is a feeling or attitude that one does know what is true.
What Elijah declared in the Old Testament, the Apostle Paul addressed in the New Testament. While in Athens, Paul came across an altar with the inscription “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” Paul told the people, “Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23). And he did, not only in his subsequent words to these men but also in his own works and preaching as he followed the teachings of Christ Jesus.
Mary Baker Eddy, as the Founder of Christian Science, had a strong sense of certainty—an absolute faith and trust in the Almighty, based on the teachings of Jesus and the Science she discovered that underlies them. After this discovery, she devoted her life to helping humanity gain a spiritual understanding of God and learn how to heal as Jesus did.
Regarding God’s supreme power and ability to govern all of creation harmoniously, Mrs. Eddy writes, “The evidence of divine Mind’s healing power and absolute control is to me as certain as the evidence of my own existence” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 177).
Christian Science teaches that God is Mind, the source of all intelligence and wisdom. It also teaches that man—the true, spiritual identity of each one of us—is the image and likeness of God, as stated in the first chapter of the Bible. Man’s true identity, then, reflects divine intelligence, which is better, higher, and holier than mere human knowledge. Knowing God, Truth, as the only power governing man and all of creation sets us free by removing the humanly imposed limitations of doubt and fear and replacing them with unshakable confidence in God’s ever-present goodness.
Many years ago, I had an experience that illustrates how we can find certainty in uncertain times. I had changed my profession and become self-employed. While I was embarking on this new career, my wife was taking a year off from her job to stay home and care for our three young children.
At first, my new work provided very little income, and I spent many nights lying awake feeling deeply concerned about how this career change would impact our family. During those sleepless nights, I would pray to God for an answer to my uncertainty. Then one night my prayers were answered in the form of words from a hymn that came to me: “Henceforth my great concern shall be / To love and praise Thee more” (John Ryland, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 224).
A wonderful sense of peace came over me. It was clear that this was a viable approach. I could at once change my thought from concerns about not being able to provide for my family, stemming from a fearful ignorance of Truth, to my greatest concern being to demonstrate a higher spiritual commitment—to love and praise God more.
I soon realized that in my longing for certainty, I had been asking the wrong question—“How will I be able to provide for our family?” That anxious query was based on a material view of man as being separate from God and left to fend for himself. Thinking from a spiritual view of man as the loved expression of God, always cared for and complete, I replaced that question with a better one—“How can I love and praise God more?” I hadn’t been able to find an answer to my initial question, but I discovered I did have an answer to the better, spiritually based question.
I began to praise God more for the many ways He had blessed me throughout my life. I praised His nature, which is to love me and forgive my shortcomings. I was grateful for His ever-present help in times of trouble and for the love and precision with which He had always met my needs. I loved Him more for the many times He had healed, protected, and guided me.
As a result, all my lesser concerns no longer kept me awake at night, and my chosen profession grew in a way that has provided for all our family’s needs. To this day, every time I read or hear the phrase “Praise the Lord,” I smile and count my blessings.
When it is known that God is the creator of the universe and the power that governs every aspect of our lives, the thoughts and experiences of humanity will be transformed. As we learn to love and praise God more, we’ll see the practical effect of a certainty based on divine Truth.