When God meets human need
Most mornings I like to go for a long walk in the woods. I find it to be a wonderful time to pray without the distractions of home or office and a great way to express God-given dominion, strength, and alertness.
Earlier this year when I was on one of these brisk walks on a cold, snowy morning, I was thinking about this statement Mary Baker Eddy made in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). How is it, I mused, that divine Love, God, can meet human needs? Does God know my human needs?
Then I began to reason like this: Since God is infinite Spirit and created all, all that truly exists is spiritual. Can there be any unmet need in Spirit, God? No! The Bible tells us, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). To me, this means there is no lack in divine Love’s entire being. Can there be a need that is outside of God? No! There is no “outside of” infinity, no “outside of” God.
I saw that even though this is true, day-to-day life can often seem far removed from spiritual being. How can we uplift consciousness to perceive and experience spiritual being in an active, tangible, and meaningful way? Mrs. Eddy explained in Science and Health, “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332). And a few pages later she referred to Jesus as “that life-link forming the connection through which the real reaches the unreal, Soul rebukes sense, and Truth destroys error” (p. 350).
Following Jesus’ teachings and demonstrations leads to understanding our authority over the flesh; it shows that human needs are met through the spiritual transformation of human thought that comes from listening to Christ’s message of the infinite goodness of divine Love. When human thought acknowledges the presence of divine Love and yields to it, then of course Love meets the human need: it destroys the errors of limitation in human thought that lead to lack and discord in human experience.
Can there be any unmet need in Spirit, God? No!
So does divine Love know human need? No! Just as legislators don’t know the specific need of each person who will be affected by the laws they enact, divine Love doesn’t have to know our specific human needs. Divine Love’s laws are laws of infinite abundance, wisdom, companionship, strength, safety, and care that apply and are available to each of us. When we know these laws of Love, we can apply them in any situation we face. Love does not need to know our mistaken sense of lack in order to meet our need. It is we who need to know and obey God’s laws.
It wasn’t long before I got to put this revelation into practice. As I was walking in the woods, I heard quite close to me a pack of coyotes yipping, howling, and singing loudly. It was alarming and daunting to hear them so near, and it made me fearful to hear them coming in my direction.
My first thought was, “I have absolutely no idea what to do.” I felt like running, but what came to me as I listened for God’s message was, “The Christ is here!” So I stayed still and listened for divine Love’s instruction.
I looked around, and right beside me was a large rock about three and a half feet high. I remembered that a rock is a symbol for Christ, and when we “stand” with the Christ, we are safe. So, I wrapped my long wool scarf around my neck many times and secured it so I wouldn’t step on it; then I climbed up onto the rock and stood.
Standing on the rock, I was still listening for divine guidance and following each spiritual intuition. I began silently affirming truths that I knew were applicable. I knew that God created all that is real and declared it to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31), so one of God’s creatures would have no reason to hurt another of God’s creatures. I knew that each need of all of God’s creatures is met by divine provision, not by taking from one to give to another. I knew that everything God made is spiritual and immortal, so I, as God’s blessed, spiritual child, had no need to be afraid.
I was led to unclasp the metal water bottle that was hanging from my belt and hold it, swinging, in one hand. With my other hand, I took out my cellphone and dialed a Christian Science practitioner—although I didn’t press “send” because as soon as I dialed the number, the phrase “fearless and undisturbed” came to mind. I knew this was a message from divine Love coming to me because I was reaching out for spiritual help.
So there I stood, tall on the rock—the symbol of Christ—scarf securely around my neck, arms outstretched, water bottle in one hand and cellphone in the other. I felt anything but “fearless and undisturbed” as the coyotes got closer. But I kept mentally and silently affirming, “I am fearless and undisturbed,” and soon I calmed down enough to feel the influence and protection of the Christ with me. I truly felt fearless and undisturbed, even though by that time it sounded as if the pack of coyotes was just around the nearby bend. With my newfound conviction of God’s loving care, I said aloud in a firm, calm, and normal voice, “I am fearless and undisturbed!”
As soon as I spoke those words, the coyotes became quiet. The woods were totally silent; not a bird, a branch, or an animal made a sound. I stayed there on the rock and continued to affirm what I know of God’s power and ever-presence, of the availability of the Christ to keep me safe, and of the unbroken relation of all God’s creation to eternal, divine Life. I really understood that “divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”
In a couple of minutes, I began to feel silly standing on a rock in the middle of the woods with my arms outstretched, so I climbed down. As I continued my walk, I felt divine Love’s active presence right with me. I found footprints in the snow of six coyotes, all of which converged in a spot not far from where I had been, but I never saw a coyote.
When I got home, I looked up the phrase “fearless and undisturbed” and found that it is from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal that is based on the ninety-first Psalm. The full verse goes like this:
He that hath God his guardian made,
Shall underneath th’ Almighty’s shade
Fearless and undisturbed abide;
Thus to myself of Him I’ll say,
He is my fortress, shield and stay,
My God; in Him I will confide.
(Tate and Brady, Hymn 99, adapt. © CSBD)
I also looked up what human steps one should take if one runs into coyotes in the woods, and found these guidelines: Protect your neck, get to high ground, make yourself look big, have something in hand to defend yourself, speak to them in a calm and authoritative voice—and whatever you do, don’t run! It turned out that what I had been led to do by listening to the Christ was exactly what human wisdom would have indicated.
Since that day, I’ve continued to go out with complete confidence for my morning prayer hikes. I go armed with the knowledge of divine Love’s omnipotence and the presence of the Christ. I am so grateful to know from personal experience the protection and direction that divine Love gives even in the most daunting circumstances. Truly, divine Love does meet every human need.