Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The foregoing verse has been a mainstay through most of my life, but in recent years it has gained new meaning for me. Through my study and practice of Christian Science, I have learned that there is a divine law, God’s law, that governs every one of us. It is ever-present, ever-active, all-powerful divine Love, to which we can all turn for guidance, not only in times of crisis, but every day. The phrases “with all thine heart” and “in all thy ways” have come to mean for me that we should not blindly follow what may commonly be accepted as authority, but instead turn and listen to God, and follow His divine law, the law of Love—letting that define our thoughts and actions appropriately.
Such humility and trust in God has biblical authority, as shown in the lives of the prophets and Christ Jesus, to bring justice, harmony, and healing to human affairs. Jesus, referring to himself, once said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Jesus acknowledged God as the sole source of his being and activity.
An experience I had a few years ago proved to me how turning to God with my whole heart—listening for and following His direction—brings harmony. A woman walking her dogs tripped and fell on the uneven sidewalk in front of our church property. A member of our branch Church of Christ, Scientist, who was serving in the Reading Room saw her sitting on the church steps and went to see if he could help. After sitting down with the woman and reassuring her, he drove her and her dogs home, for which she expressed appreciation. As I was on our church Board at the time, the member informed me of the incident, and I, in turn, reported it to the town government, so they could take appropriate steps to repair the sidewalk. I also prayed to know that our church’s presence in the neighborhood could bring only healing. Our church has had a very congenial relationship with our mainly residential neighbors, and our motive certainly was to be a blessing in this situation. I took this as a wake-up call to be more alert, prayerfully and practically, to the needs of our neighborhood.
Several months later, those aware of the situation were surprised to hear that our church was being named as a defendant, along with the town government, in a personal injury lawsuit brought by this same woman. The attorney for our church’s insurance company assured us, though, that we could not be held liable, since the sidewalk belonged to the town, and that he felt this issue would be resolved soon. But after many months, it was not.
Our whole membership was then asked to pray about this. As for me, I had a moment of questioning why this was happening, but then caught myself and turned to God for direction. In my prayer I held to the truth that everyone is embraced in divine Love, in which there are no victimizers and no victims—whether the church, the woman involved, or the town. As God is also divine Mind, and we are God’s image and likeness, I knew that all of us reflected and were being directed by that one Mind. I felt utmost compassion for the woman, and knew this was an opportunity to see more clearly divine Love’s ever-presence and its power to heal this situation.
I felt a conviction that divine Mind truly was at the helm, and that the truth would be revealed for all to see.
During the ensuing months, there were many times when we thought the case would be brought to a close; but it was not, even after the deposition of the church member who had spoken with the woman and driven her home. Then I was notified that I would also be deposed, since I was the one who had reported the incident to the town. As I prayed more earnestly, the words of the “Daily Prayer” from the Manual of The Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy came to thought: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (p. 41). The phrase “Thy kingdom come” is, of course, from the Lord’s Prayer, and its spiritual interpretation given in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy, is, “Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present” (p. 16). The spiritual import of the “Daily Prayer” and this spiritual sense of “Thy kingdom come” were like lights in my consciousness. I held firmly to these ideas, and knew that all who were involved in the case were governed by divine Truth and Love.
The night before my deposition, this strong angel thought came to me: “Don’t lean on legal opinion, even if it’s in your favor. It is the spiritual fact that has all power.” I also recalled a thought shared by an experienced Christian Science practitioner: “Don’t lean on your own expertise”—which meant to me: Don’t put your confidence in mere human opinion or experience, your own or anyone else’s; know that God is the true authority. I realized that, instead of simply relying on a professional opinion and a legal process, I was being required to go deeper to acknowledge the spiritual facts of what God is and what God does. The master Christian, Christ Jesus, said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). He understood God, divine Mind, as the source of true justice, and he taught this to his followers.
In reading that week’s Bible Lesson published in the Christian Science Quarterly, I found this citation from Science and Health to be very helpful: “The spiritual fact, repeated in the action of man and the whole universe, is harmonious and is the ideal of Truth” (p. 207). I felt a conviction that divine Mind truly was at the helm, and that the truth would be revealed for all to see. I continued to work prayerfully, holding fast to the spiritual facts that everyone involved was the beloved child of God, the reflection of Truth and Love, and that error had no power to deter, delay, resist, or thwart the evidence of Mind’s resolution. I began to feel confident that the law of God was governing everyone in this case.
In the morning, before going to the deposition, I continued to pray along these lines. I looked up “spiritual fact” and found this in Science and Health: “If you wish to know the spiritual fact, you can discover it by reversing the material fable, be the fable pro or con,—be it in accord with your preconceptions or utterly contrary to them” (p. 129). To me, the “material fable” to be reversed was that human justice rested on mere legal processes. Science and Health also states, “Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine” (p. 542). The spiritual facts that I glimpsed at that time were these: The law of God governs every one of His children and every situation, including this case. God is the only authority, the only power. Error cannot thwart, weigh down, or stop the action of Mind. God’s will is done. His kingdom is come. Truth is revealed (it is a revelation!). I felt a profound sense of assurance and peace, and in my thought heard an inspired message: “It is done!”
When I got to the office where the deposition was being taken, I saw a woman there who was later confirmed to be the plaintiff. Although neither the attorney representing our church nor I had expected to see her there, I still felt the peace of divine Mind governing. As we started the proceeding, some of the questions the other attorney asked me were rather complex and challenging to answer. But I continued to hold to the fact that Mind was the only power and presence for me and for all in the room, and I was able to answer the questions. The deposition was expected to last about half an hour, but about halfway through, the plaintiff’s attorney left the room with his client to confer. When they came back, the plaintiff’s attorney asked me to step out of the room. After several minutes, I saw the plaintiff calmly leave, and our attorney came out and told me that the whole case was being discontinued right then and there.
Afterward, I found out a couple of important points that showed me how thoroughly Mind had been directing. The attorney working on behalf of the church, astounded at the swift turnaround in the case, shared that it is very unusual for the plaintiff to personally attend a deposition of a defendant; he also said that cases almost never get discontinued during a deposition. Because the plaintiff in our case had been personally present, her attorney had been able to get her permission to immediately halt the proceeding and drop the entire lawsuit.
I, too, was in awe of the swiftness and decisiveness of the final decision—and of course, immensely grateful. What I had witnessed was simply the outward manifestation of what divine Love had already done. Everyone walked away peacefully. It reminded me of what I’ve read so many times in Hebrews: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (4:12).
It was truly a humbling experience, as I felt I was just watching God work. Divine Truth went to the heart of the matter and removed the error. It was one of the clearest examples I’ve seen of the effectiveness of Christian Science in lifting human thought and bringing about a harmonious and just resolution with love and mercy. I continue to pray to know that this same Truth is present here and now to heal, redeem, restore, and bless human lives everywhere.
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