What the heart wants

“The heart wants what it wants,” poet Emily Dickinson once wrote to a friend. We may not always want what we know we should want or be able to explain why we want what we want. We just do. Many believe that if we focus hard enough on our desires and live as if we already have them, the universe will give them to us. As one viral video put it, “The secret is to assume and believe it before the concrete proof shows up.”

As followers of Jesus, however, Christian Scientists understand that good does not come from some sort of generic power thought of as “the universe.” God, the only cause and creator, is the source of all good. So then, if we seem to lack some good thing, is getting it just a matter of asking God for it and believing hard enough that we’ll receive it? After all, Jesus promised, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22).

The book of James adds a caveat to Jesus’ promise. The writer explains, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (4:3). An example from the life of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, sheds light on this caveat. One of her early students reports, “One day . . . she was reading a letter; looking up, she called me and said in substance, ‘How do they demonstrate money and furniture?’ ” That is, How would one pray so that God would provide those things? The student replied, “I do not know, I was not taught that.” Mrs. Eddy responded, “Thank God you were not. We demonstrate Life, Truth, and Love, and they give us our supplies; we do not demonstrate material things.” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Version, Vol. 1, p. 465).

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Spiritual study: Time well spent
June 24, 2024

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