Seeing through the lie
Imagine if you believed that 5 times 5 equaled 20. Every equation you attempted using that calculation would fail. However, when you came to understand the law of mathematics, you would not be deceived by that mistaken belief, and your future calculations would yield correct solutions.
It was no simple math problem that confronted Elisha in the Bible. To fulfill his mission, he needed to understand and demonstrate the real nature of God and His creation—spiritual, harmonious, and wholly good, as presented in the first chapter of Genesis and reaffirmed in Revelation 21.
Having been an assistant to and protégé of the prophet Elijah, Elisha likely witnessed many examples of God’s power. So, when Elisha’s servant warned him that the king of Syria had sent an army to capture Elisha, the prophet told the young man not to be afraid (see II Kings 6:8–23). In fact, Elisha prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes to see what Elisha saw, the spiritual reality that had always been there, refuting the lie that evil is a power. Evil has nothing to do with the truth of God’s spiritual, good creation, and therefore no basis in reality. Then the servant was able to perceive God’s presence, in the form of what appeared to be chariots of fire surrounding them but were really an expression of God’s all-encompassing care.
By the end of the story, we learn that the besieging forces were taken captive without conflict and then let go. The account ends, “So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.” Not only had Elisha’s vision of God’s government overcome the lie of a threat to his personal safety, but the very threat of war had yielded to the spiritual Truth that the prophet
so clearly saw.
This experience speaks of God’s supremacy—of good overcoming evil and truth overcoming falsehood. Later, Jesus evidenced the full scope of that supremacy. He healed illness, raised the dead, and fed multitudes, demonstrating that material conditions or laws aren’t the realities they appear to be. Jesus awakened human thought to spiritual truth, and this brought healing. The problems, however real they seemed, were proven to be misperceptions, not actualities. He understood that apparent physical problems were actually phenomena of thought. So, it’s vital not to be influenced by fears or mistaken educated beliefs—that is, not to accept as true that which is not true. Instead, we need to let God’s spiritual ideas permeate our thoughts and lives.
Rather than accepting what we see on the surface as truth or reality, we rely on the divine perspective to show us what’s real.
Mary Baker Eddy expressed it this way: “We must realize the ability of mental might to offset human misconceptions and to replace them with the life which is spiritual, not material” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 428). This “mental might” is not human willpower or mind over matter, but a yielding to the divine Mind that is God. Turning to this Mind, letting this Mind be in us, as it says in the Bible (see Philippians 2:5), we begin approaching life from a different standpoint. Rather than accepting what we see on the surface as truth or reality, we rely on Mind—the divine perspective, wholly harmonious and good—to show us what’s real.
In my own experience as a soldier in combat, I had prayed not to be harmed or to harm anyone else. In one instance, I was at the very front of a battle involving more than a hundred soldiers on both sides. As I was required to engage, I pulled the trigger, and my weapon blew apart. I was upright, and bullets were cracking all around me, yet I was completely unharmed, and at the same time, unable to harm another. In this instance, the vivid image of being defined by being in a war zone could not contest the truth of my relationship to God and my love for my neighbor, which I had affirmed in my prayer as the only reality.
We can subject every phenomenon of human belief, every apparent evil action, every lie about God’s kingdom, to the same scrutiny Jesus gave it and ultimately obtain our freedom from its seeming effects. It doesn’t matter whether the lie is war (as Elisha proved); a pandemic; social, economic, or political upheaval; food or water shortages; or any other form of discord.
When we’re tempted to believe in the reality of some evil, we can treat it as Jesus and Elisha did. We can reject fear and pray that our eyes be opened to see through the lie to perceive what is really happening in God’s all-good kingdom. As we do this faithfully and persistently, trusting Christ, Truth, to reveal to us God’s kingdom, our thought begins to conform to the “mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16) and our experience to correspond with our thought. This is spiritual truth being revealed. Its effect is to bring us increased safety and vitality, moral and physical healing, wiser judgment, and a deeper compassion, enabling us to be of greater service to God and to humanity.
Warren Berckmann, Guest Editorial Writer