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Prayerful action instead of reaction

From the August 22, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


A loved one shared some news about an unjust situation that had just occurred, and I was incredulous. I thought: “How could this happen? This is so wrong, unfair, and cruel. I’m going to call ….” In that moment my tendency was to react, get to the bottom of the situation, and fix it!

My next thought, though, was “Refuse to react.” That means more than just gritting your teeth and putting up with something. It does not mean to ignore or even put on a happy face and make excuses for wrong actions. 

This idea “Refuse to react” was the starting point for prayer. And prayer goes way beyond an effort to “tame” the human mind or create a false sense of peace. 

One of Christ Jesus’ parables in the Sermon on the Mount proves instructive. Jesus describes a wise man who built his house on a rock (see Matthew 7:24–27). Heavy storms, winds, and floods came and beat against his house, but it withstood the storm. Another man, referred to as a foolish man, built his house on the sand. A powerful storm of rain and winds and floods lashed at this house, and it was demolished. Christ Jesus differentiates between the two builders. The wise man is one who “heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,” while the foolish man is one who hears Jesus’ teachings and then does whatever he wants to anyway, disregarding the teachings. 

Which builder did I want to be? It would be foolish of me to build my thoughts and acts on human circumstances, instead of on what I knew to be spiritually true. From my study of Christian Science, I knew the justifications of mortal mind to be flimsy and faulty because they consisted of untrue and incorrect beliefs about God and His good spiritual kingdom.

I needed to accept what I understand about the unfailing, governing presence of divine Principle. The thought “Refuse to react” was a declaration of the mental stand I was beginning to take that God is the only power and presence; therefore, His law was governing the situation, no matter what I heard. And so, with this choice made, what immediately came to thought was a flood of spiritual inspiration grounded in spiritual truth that man is always the beloved, cherished, protected, and whole idea of God. 

I was inspired to respond to my loved one on the phone that day with an honest realization that God always provides the ideas, comfort, and opportunity to see His work at hand.

Christian Science, the Science of God, teaches that God is the only cause and creator of man and the universe. The divine order exists throughout all creation. Beginning our prayer with God as always being the only source of intelligence and wisdom, expressed through all of creation, enables us to eliminate the concern that something evil has suddenly taken control and usurped God’s power.

We can trust that God, Truth, is always at work. 

A commitment to spiritual fortitude—standing courageously with what is spiritually true of God and His creation—deprives suggestions in mortal thought of having any possibility of being accepted as true. A consciousness filled with spiritual inspiration reveals God’s governing presence, holding His divine ideas in perfect harmony. This is the kingdom of heaven at hand. “Science reveals Life as not being at the mercy of death, nor will Science admit that happiness is ever the sport of circumstance” is one way Mary Baker Eddy describes the powerlessness of discord (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 250).

Taking a mental stand, accepting only divine Principle to be in operation, enabled me to reject the barrage of drama presented to me and allowed me to act and respond to my loved one in a healing way. 

Discords we encounter may be difficult, but a spiritual understanding of the reign of harmony reveals that the mortal beliefs at the root of this discord have no “degree of difficulty,” harshness, complication, or time element, anymore than zero has degrees of nothingness. We learn that accepting discord and chance as real and substantial is like building on the sand. God, the creative Principle, causes constant good. 

There are times when this fact may appear illusive and even ridiculous because the material senses point to discord as reality. But we can begin, thought by thought, with the building blocks of a spiritual understanding of God, knowing that God is the only power operating right where we are, even if we think we cannot see present good.

There is no truth or origin for inharmony in God’s kingdom. In Jesus’ parable, the storm of wind and rain could not topple the house built on a rock. The true harmony and happiness of life are directly and abundantly God-given and God-governed, and are never touched or influenced by mortal belief.

The day I got that upsetting news over the phone, you could say that, even while I felt appropriate care and compassion for what needed to be dealt with, I considered the whole drama a “story.” Let me explain what that meant to me. 

I accepted the fact that God is ever-present Mind, the only intelligence governing and controlling each individual idea; that God is Love, pouring forth tender care and mercy, filling each one with love. I gave deep thought to the truth of what was truly going on with my loved one. That meant knowing that there is one Mind imparting right and clear ideas, which, when understood, outline and order our experience and understanding, collectively and universally. As we yield to this Mind, human opinions, mistakes, misunderstandings, are seen to have no authority or power to impede the harmonious, right demonstration, or proof, of what’s true of man. 

Underlying man’s expression of good is the infinite power of divine Love, which, when understood, fosters obedience and brings forth unselfishness, humility, and grace, giving force to healing thought and action. There is simply no place for hurt feelings, anger, or self-righteousness to darken the joy and freedom of knowing and living more of our spiritual selfhood.

We can trust that God, Truth, is always at work. Therefore, I could stand assured that the only possible outcome would come through Christ’s revealing of the infinite nature and power of Love and Truth to enrich and uplift human thought and experience. I found that it was necessary to continually return to my “rock,” that solid standpoint, of spiritual truth. 

As time went by, whenever the situation was brought to my attention or into conversation, I anchored my thought in God’s love for all. I firmly acknowledged and rejoiced that the beauty and glory of God’s work would be revealed in a way that all could understand.

After that initial conversation with my loved one, and my prayer that freed me from concern, I noticed a spiritual poise and peace from this loved one. And I felt at peace, too. Those involved shared that they were moving forward, taking appropriate God-guided steps. I was also very grateful for their freedom from resentment, revenge, or discouragement. As they gracefully navigated the weeks following, they were free and peaceful, trusting good to provide for them. I also recognized that there was spiritual calm, which resulted in freedom from concern for the future. 

A few weeks later, a resolution came forward that included progress, freedom, and unity for every individual involved. It was completely, divinely natural that going forward there was no dwelling on the original difficulty.

Establishing our consciousness on the heavenly promise and law of God’s enduring love for each of us, we are less likely to react. Instead, we are helped to experience more fully the peace and harmony of the kingdom of God at hand and see its healing influence bless the lives of others.

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