God shepherds us
How can we prepare for an unclear future? When carefully laid plans are going awry and we don’t know which way to turn, what’s needed is omniscience—a quality of God that is often overlooked at times when everything is going as expected.
Thinking through God’s omniscience, the all-knowing character of God, might seem curiously intellectual. But omniscience is a natural aspect of God’s infinite intelligence. In Christian Science, one of the Bible-based synonyms for God is Mind. The divine Mind is conscious of its entire creation—the vast infinitude of spiritual ideas that make up man and the universe.
Mind always sees us only as we really are: flawless expressions of the divine intelligence. In Mind’s loving omniscience, spiritual man—each one of us—is known in full detail, is governed harmoniously without interruption, and reflects the infinite intelligence of Mind.
Since God, Mind, is entirely good, His ideas must also be good. God doesn’t know evil in us any more than the principle of mathematics “knows” about mistakes made in addition or subtraction. Each of us is designed to display, to image forth, the purity, goodness, and majesty of Mind—no mistakes included.
So, with Mind being absolutely omniscient, who better to inform and guide us than God? Trusting Mind to guide is both wise and practical, as I learned early on in a dramatic way.
As I started thinking about what I was to do beyond my high school years, I explored the possibility of attending college. No one in my family had ever graduated from college, and I felt trepidation about getting admitted to one.
Trusting Mind to guide is both wise and practical, as I learned in a dramatic way.
My Christian Science Sunday School teacher at that time was a former college professor whose career had evolved into working as a consultant for many colleges, both nearby and far away. She had so many college connections that I decided to ask her to help me get into a university.
She loved me very much, I could tell, and wanted the best for me. And because of this, she gave me no advice about or connections for any specific college. None at all! She explained that although she knew several college admissions officers, what would help me the most was to trustingly and wholeheartedly turn in prayer to the all-knowing Mind that is God.
The blessing of doing so was soon evident. As I prayed to be placed where I might be of most use to God, I realized I needed to listen less to everyone’s opinions, even my own. Not long after, an excellent university in California that I’d applied to accepted me. I was so glad, because it offered a unique major that I was very excited about. Before traveling to the university that fall, I studied at a junior college to learn as much as I could about that major.
After arriving at the university, I received some surprising news: The very major I had come to this school to study had just been eliminated! I was stunned. Should I just go home? No, I felt that my prayer for divine guidance had been sincere and that omniscient Mind had led me there. So, even though I had no clue what would happen next, I decided to stay. I just signed up for classes somewhat related to what I had originally intended to study.
When we yield solely to God’s omniscience, He shepherds us in ways that avoid side trips and missteps.
One of these classes was about analyzing the effectiveness of speeches. The teacher had traveled from many states away to be there for a single semester. He told the students that the entire course grade for each of us would be based on one paper—a rhetorical analysis of a speech of our choosing. He asked us to meet with him individually before starting our papers.
I had a copy of a Christian Science lecture that I’d always liked, and I decided to make it the subject of my paper. When I arrived in the teacher’s office, I told him, “I never heard this speech on Christian Science in person, but I think the writing is very good.” He paused, and then said quietly, “Many years ago, I was a consultant for the lecturer and helped her compose that specific lecture.”
Suddenly, I felt such love for and gratitude to God—as well as my Sunday School teacher: Because of her trust in Mind to lead me, she had avoided giving me personal advice. Had she used her connections to get me into the college she thought was best, I would probably have missed meeting this excellent teacher. He helped me so much, and ultimately I ended up years later serving as a lecturer on Christian Science.
When we yield solely to God’s omniscience, He shepherds us in ways that avoid the side trips and missteps human willfulness might lead us to make. People may implore our advice—what job to take, where to move, whom to marry, what school to attend, and so on. But personal opinions, no matter how well-intentioned, are no match for God’s omniscience.
“God makes us pay for tending the action that He adjusts,” Mary Baker Eddy points out in Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 (p. 353). And the Bible assures us that God is here “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
Trustingly and joyfully turning only to God’s guidance stirs us to rise to clearer, better views of our spiritual purpose—to express Mind’s wisdom. Our fellow sheep may ask for our advice, but it is always the omniscient divine Shepherd who leads to the greenest pastures.