Good is natural
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
How often we find ourselves thinking or hearing, “It’s too good to be true!” Or someone will quote Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” The mass media hourly report conflict, disaster, and crime as normal. Even the pervasive belief that sickness can be catching, while no one gives much thought to health being catching, is a species of the idea that evil is more natural than good.
One day, as our family was camping, my sons and husband had gone fishing, and I was in camp reading the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson. I came across this question, asked in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “If thought is startled at the strong claim of Science for the supremacy of God, or Truth, and doubts the supremacy of good, ought we not, contrariwise, to be astounded at the vigorous claims of evil and doubt them, and no longer think it natural to love sin and unnatural to forsake it,—no longer imagine evil to be ever-present and good absent? Truth should not seem so surprising and unnatural as error, and error should not seem so real as truth” (pp. 130–131).
This prompted me to ask myself, “Am I thinking of good as natural and predominant, or am I thinking of it as unusual and surprising?” I thought of all I had read in the Bible about the goodness of God and that God is supreme, so I reasoned that good must truly be supreme, too, in every way. Consistently accepting this fact, I realized how unnatural it would be to say, “I’ll never find a job in this economy” or “Houses are scarce, so we’ll just have to settle for whatever we can get” or “This illness has gone on so long, I expect it will still be there tomorrow.”
Am I thinking of good as natural and predominant, or am I thinking of it as unusual and surprising?”
I saw that if I regarded good as natural, I would no longer have to laboriously earn good health, love, or purpose in life. Realizing what an effort it takes to maintain an expectancy of evil or a resistance to good, I resolved to give it up, yielding instead to the naturalness of good.
Mrs. Eddy writes: “It was the consummate naturalness of Truth in the mind of Jesus, that made his healing easy and instantaneous. Jesus regarded good as the normal state of man, and evil as the abnormal; holiness, life, and health as the better representatives of God than sin, disease, and death” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 200).
We can accept this normal goodness in the largest and smallest ways, I thought. We can see our homes, relationships, and work, as well as the tiniest incidents of life, naturally tending toward good. Why think it is natural even to miss an appointment or stub a toe? We need not feel helpless and overwhelmed in the face of pressing bad news, or slip into inactivity because we are made to believe that there isn’t enough good to help. I saw that as our awareness of the natural ever-presence of goodness grows, we will see increasing evidence of it in the world around us and in our own lives.
Just then, one of my sons returned from fishing and glumly reported that he had dropped his pocketknife in the river and couldn’t find it. Immediately I thought of the Bible story of Elisha helping a friend find an ax head he had dropped in the water (see II Kings 6:1–7). Good had seemed so natural to Elisha that even the law of physics that says an ax head is heavier than water, could not stop it from floating to the surface. I reminded my son of this story and told him to expect good. I asked him to show me where he had lost the knife.
My heart sank temporarily when I saw that the place where he dropped it was not the smooth, shallow beach where I thought he had been. It was a very steep embankment covered with large boulders where the river ran fast and deep.
Why think it is natural even to miss an appointment or stub a toe?
I sent my son back to camp to put on his swimming trunks while I sat down to pray. I didn’t want to get my son’s hopes up in what looked like an impossible situation. The boulders stretched for 50 yards along the river, and he wasn’t quite sure where he had been when he dropped the knife. But I wanted to see the situation from God’s point of view. Nothing is too hard for God, the Bible says. I made up my mind to agree with the naturalness of good, the normality of good, and that it was all we should ever expect. After a few moments of prayer, I was convinced of this.
Just then, my husband happened by. When I told him the situation, he chose a place along the bank, clambered over boulders down to the river, and without hesitation, put his hand in the dark water up to his shoulder and pulled out the knife without even looking.
I value this experience because it demonstrated an unchangeable law of God, available to help at any time. It’s true for you and me and everyone. Good is forever and everywhere natural in any situation. We can let this law become a basis for our outlook on life—and then, of course, we will not be surprised at the outpouring of good it brings to us and to all.