Where does power rest?

How might this question be helpful or even relevant to people in situations where they feel utterly powerless? They may be caught up in a war not of their making, or perhaps battling sleeplessness after being laid off from work, or dealing with a discouraging medical diagnosis. It may seem reasonable to identify the origin of any oppressive circumstances as physical, but doing so would be of little comfort and could even be debilitating. 

However, there is another answer to the question “Where does power rest?” that may be far less obvious, yet is profoundly relevant and helpful. It is expressed this way in the Bible: “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God” (Psalms 62:11). Does this demand a giant leap away from practicality? No. On the contrary, the Bible records over centuries the practical, healing efficacy of recognizing the superiority of spiritual power over physical. 

Christian Science reveals that a human or physical sense of power is not power at all but merely a misperception of where power lies. Through prayerful study of the Bible in the light of this teaching, we come to know God as omnipotent good, forever maintaining His creation in perfect harmony. This understanding enables us to view situations correctly—according to God’s perception of reality, in which discord of any kind has neither place nor power.

The Bible is full of accounts that illustrate this fact, such as the defeat of the Philistine giant, Goliath, by the young shepherd David (see I Samuel 17). When David arrived on the scene, King Saul and his army were frozen in terror, mesmerized by this massive enemy standing before them defiantly demanding, “Give me a man, that we may fight together.” Saul and his men judged the situation according to human knowledge and their military experience. From this perspective they were at a hopeless disadvantage—powerless. But by defeating the giant on completely different terms, David proved that it was not their physicality that limited them but their belief that physicality defined both them and their predicament and determined their options and actions. 

The Bible records the practical, healing efficacy of recognizing the superiority of spiritual power over physical.

Human knowledge itself, based on information gained through the physical senses, was the disadvantage. David, free of the conditioning of military training and experience, was unhampered by the senses’ depiction of another’s presumed invincibility. His confidence in God’s unfailing power to save was rooted not only in his earlier victorious encounters with wild beasts, but be-
yond that, in his spiritual understanding of the nature of God as almighty good. He identified the aggression as leveled not at the armies of Saul, but at what they represented—“the living God.” The contest was not between mortal men or between varying material methods, but between real power and a mistaken concept of power.

Christian Science further clarifies this conflict as being between Truth, or God, and error—between the supremacy and reality of good, and the powerlessness and unreality of evil. In actuality, it is never a person, place, situation, or thing that governs or affects us. Rather, it is a false, incorrect concept of reality, and thus of power, that appears to do so. 

When we personify evil, we lose the freedom of thought that enables us, like David, to see through the presentation of the senses, whatever its form, and take a mental stand for God’s reality. “The corporeal senses are the only source of evil or error,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science. She adds, “Outside the material sense of things, all is harmony” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 489).

This was demonstrated to me some years ago when our little daughter’s knee was accidentally pushed backward by some weight training equipment she’d been playing with under my husband’s supervision. My husband’s Ph.D. was in exercise physiology, and on that basis he could foresee only the probability of crippling. Just as crippling was his sense of culpability as a helpless “bad dad.” 

At the time, I was elsewhere, praying, and my thought had become totally imbued with the magnitude of God’s power as the only true Father, constantly governing His offspring in perfect harmony. Consequently, when my distraught husband walked into the room carrying the crying child, this truth cut right through the whole scenario as illegitimate and impossible. The healing was instantaneous. Our daughter ran off to play and grew up to be a capable athlete and a graceful dancer.

This experience illustrated for me how God’s ever-present power heals and corrects issues big or small, individual or global, when we truly know its reality. When we are prepared to yield to a change in perspective, to not be fooled by what appear to be intractable power structures—whether as tyrants, greed, injustice, health issues, or accidents—but instead to view reality from God’s perspective, we can then expect to see the effective operation of God, good, where power truly lies!

Linda Stocks-Copley, Guest Editorial Writer

Discovering our God-given worth
November 28, 2022

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