Awakening to Soul’s unfoldment of good
We can see all things working together in harmony—in ways that are profoundly right and good and real.
The apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the Roman Christians, “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). And right in the midst of daily experience, we can see this divine orchestration. It is not simply things going “pretty well,” but all things working together in harmony—in ways that are profoundly right and good and real.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, identified synonyms for God based on her deep study of the Bible. One of these is Soul. The activity of God perfectly orchestrating His creation, including man and the universe, is Soul in action. Soul shows us that there is an opportunity to live on a different basis than the world’s way of doing things. In other words, it’s possible to put aside human calculations and concerns and see how perfectly God, the Soul of the universe, governs our experience, fulfilling His good purpose.
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This perfection is a far cry from the assumption that the way to “get ahead” is through manipulation, human will, or luck. That kind of assumption is rooted in a materialistic mind-set that sees material laws and limitations in every direction and believes that each person must look out for her- or himself in order to experience success or good fortune.
The Bible—particularly the life and teachings of Christ Jesus—opens vistas into a spiritual universe created and governed by God, Spirit, who is pure good. We find examples of selfless generosity enriching the lives of others and naturally returning to bless the one who acted selflessly. Such stories speak to a longing for a reality where things really do “work together for good.” That longing, I believe, comes from something absolutely real—something that is perceived not materially but spiritually.
We read in Genesis, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (1:31). Jesus, as the Christ or Son of God, vividly demonstrated that this God-bestowed reality of pure good is found to be tangibly present as we awaken to the truth of our being as children of God. On the basis of this understanding of reality, Jesus fed multitudes with a few fish and loaves of bread, walked on water, stilled storms, instantaneously healed individuals and crowds of people suffering from diseases and disabilities, and raised others from death. Through his own resurrection after being crucified he demonstrated immortal Life to be the heart of all being. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12, New Revised Standard Version). Following Christ enables us to experience immortal good.
I could leave behind the darkness of uncertainty and instability and go forward in the light of God, Soul.
We can see evidence of things working together for good not only in big situations but also in humble circumstances, such as a career change accomplished, a gnarly interpersonal problem overcome, or someone healed physically by turning to God and being spiritually uplifted.
Around the time of my 21st anniversary of being employed at a corporate foundation, a new executive director arrived. Although our working relationship started out on a positive note, in time it became evident that my employment there had a limited future. I began seeking the next step in my career, but during the first several months of my job search, I began to realize I was facing prejudice against people approaching retirement age.
During this time I studied and prayed with many passages from the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s writings. One helpful passage from Psalms was this: “Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (75:6, 7). Part of what I drew from these words is that while employment may appear to be at the mercy of human opinions and judgments, it is actually entirely in the hands of a supremely wise, entirely good God, who alone leads us all continually in right paths.
Several months into this journey, I had a helpful conversation with my Christian Science teacher (someone authorized by The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston to teach in-depth classes on Christian Science practice), and I came away from our talk with a firm conviction that I had every reason to be expectant and joyful. I could leave behind the darkness of uncertainty and instability and go forward in the light of God, Soul.
I felt a renewed buoyancy in my spiritual work and was confident that, as Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love” (p. 66). I persisted in awakening to a greater understanding that everything real is orchestrated by the Soul of all being; it is not, therefore, happening within a material framework of limitation, human opinion, and chance.
At one point, I reached out to a friend (and fellow Christian Scientist) who worked for an organization I had worked for early in my career. When I called and said I was looking to make a career change, the first words out of his mouth were “This call may be an answer to prayer.” He told me of a position that was being created and asked me to send along a letter and résumé. I was tremendously encouraged by this development, which I knew was an outcome of the prayer and spiritual growth that had been going on. The position and organization also had a deep spiritual purpose that I supported.
While I was waiting for a formal interview for the position, my current employment was terminated. But during these months of waiting, I found much spiritual light in praying with this instruction from Science and Health: “Wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept. Patience must ‘have her perfect work’ ” (p. 454).
What a gratifying moment when the job offer came! As I write these words a couple of years later, I can say that this step has led to the most purposeful and rewarding work in a career blessed with a deep sense of mission.
What the overall experience says to me is that we need never be defined or confined by expectations and assumptions based on age or circumstance. We are children of the Father-Mother of a creation that is infinitely good and harmonious. Our purpose is God-given, and we always have the opportunity to awaken to our place in Soul’s unfoldment of good, for God alone directs and shapes our lives “in the beauty of holiness” (Psalms 29:2).