“You can’t untoast toast"

The good that God has done can’t be reversed, can’t be undone. 

Normalcy: People are craving it. Reassurance: People are seeking it. These indicators of well-being center around the question “With so much changing, what stays the same?”

I’ve had to satisfy my own quest for stability and peace. And a thought shared by my brother-in-law helped me along that path.

I was with family for vacation by a lake. My family loves to fish, and they were quite successful. That morning, during a breakfast of eggs, toast, and fish, my brother-in-law turned to me and said, “You know, ‘you can’t untoast toast.’ ”

“What?” I replied. He said it again in a percussive way, “You know, ‘you can’t untoast toast’—you can’t undo the change that bread has gone through once it is toasted.” He explained further that he’d heard this catchy expression from a PBS Kids video (The Ruff Ruffman Show, March 1, 2017).

My thoughts went to a metaphysical point: The good that God has done can’t be reversed, can’t be undone. God is not a person but Spirit, the divine presence and power that has created the universe spiritually. We abide as God’s spiritual creation. The inner calm that comes from experiencing God brings outward harmony. This spiritual peace we experience in thought can’t be undone. And once we have felt this peace, we can’t be convinced that we haven’t felt it.

I reach for that divine assurance that is constant and not conditional.

Next, I thought of this verse from the Bible, typically attributed to King Solomon: “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). When I prayed these words, I felt reassured that regardless of changing human circumstances, what God has created is spiritual, permanent, safe, and sufficient.

At times when I’ve felt abandoned by God or not willing to surrender to God, I reach for that divine assurance that I intuitively know is constant and not conditional. What a relief it is when I remember that God made me, and that God’s creation isn’t hemmed in by human constraints but remains infinite and divine. God keeps us in perfect peace. We feel this more fully as we keep our thoughts on God. We feel settled and reassured by God’s law of love and grace, which is more attractive than human personality, IQ, age, DNA, or cultural background, because it is solely good and dependable. God’s law wouldn’t be God’s law if it were fickle. 

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, identified God, divine Love, as constant and accessible for us all. Her primary text on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’ ” (p. 13). So, divine peace and stability are impartial and universal as they tangibly bless us right here and now. They do not fluctuate due to good and bad days in human experience.

God’s law is established, like the toast that can’t be un-toasted.

In the Bible, Daniel is an excellent example of someone who felt the continuity of peace in adversity (see Daniel 6). He showed that we don’t fluctuate in and out of innocence or safety.

In this story, Daniel was devoted to God and prayed multiple times each day. Did his love of God exempt him from adversity or misunderstanding? No. In fact, he faced jealousy, deception, pressure to worship many gods, and discrimination as a Jew living in Babylon. Finally, he was thrown into a den of lions by a decree from the king, who quickly regretted having issued it. Daniel’s love of God was echoing God’s love of him. And in the end, Daniel was safe despite it all. His unthwarted faith saved him from the lions and changed the perspective of the king, who now decreed that Daniel’s God was “the living God.” What a promise of hope to be worshiping a God who is alive and relevant.

With this biblical account in mind, I asked myself, “Does God keep us safe because we are faithful? Do we earn favors or spiritual points with God?” No, God’s law is established, like the toast that can’t be untoasted. The constancy we need isn’t situational but divine and changeless, so we can stop looking to other people or even ourselves for reassurance, and find peace and hope with God.

I remembered a specific time when this lesson stuck with me. As I was driving down the highway one day, a semi-trailer truck nearly ran me off the road while changing lanes. It was a little like the epic chariot race in the classic film Ben-Hur, as the lug nuts on the truck’s wheels bore into the car door inches from where I was sitting. Promptly, the semi driver and I pulled off the highway. No one was injured, although I couldn’t exit the driver’s door. I was praying and reaching out to God for comfort; I felt God’s love. With some tricky gymnastics, I was able to climb out on the passenger side and exchange information with the other driver.

Even though the incident was jarring, I was able to drive home with a strong feeling of abiding closeness to God and a sense of being unchanged. Feeling largely unshaken seemed counterintuitive, but I knew that my identity was spiritual and that what God, good, does can’t be undone. What was constant in this moment was God. God doesn’t ever take a break from being God. God can’t relinquish His care for creation to randomness or chance, and so it remains that we are spiritual, pure, undisturbed, and beloved in the eyes of our creator.

Life is not about praying to have a hassle-free experience. It’s about feeling the presence, protection, and priority of God that bring peace. Just as toast can’t be untoasted, we as God’s loved creation can’t be undone. And now is the time to let this idea of God’s permanency and stability—and ours—take root in us.

Keeping Watch
On the alert
March 1, 2021

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