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‘This is the way …’

From the November 30, 2015 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

I resisted acquiring satellite-navigation (sat-nav) equipment for my car as long as I could. As a geography graduate, I had a good sense of direction and enjoyed the challenge and stimulus of navigating my own way to places I needed to go. I used street maps when necessary, but never used any other aid or equipment apart from street signs. 

However, things changed when I got lost in the middle of England on a holiday break with my wife while driving to my sister’s house on the south coast of England. When I arrived at her house much later than expected, I had to explain that I had got lost. My reliance on conventional means to navigate had failed.

My sister told me I must get sat-nav. Her husband, who knew about these things, drove me to a nearby town to buy the right model for my purposes. Two days later, with sat-nav conveniently installed in the car, I drove back to our home in the North of England by following its instructions, and my wife and I had a much more enjoyable, stress-free and error-free trip. 

But as anyone who has used sat-nav knows, however useful we find the device, it is fallible and known to make mistakes. If you haven’t downloaded the latest map updates, for example, it can send you in the wrong direction. And once, during the aforementioned car trip home, I erred, accidentally deviating from sat-nav’s instructions by coming off a roundabout at the wrong exit (although, after recalculating, she soon put us back on track).

So, using the sat-nav has been a helpful reminder to me that in order to find our way in overcoming life’s challenges, the only intelligence we can fully trust is the divine Mind, or God. Infallibility belongs to this divine Mind, which I’ve learned from my study and practice of Christian Science is the only intelligence of the universe. 

Infallibility belongs to divine Mind.

You and I naturally reflect this intelligence, as we are divine Mind’s spiritual idea and expression; and as such we are always within range of Mind’s unerring guidance. There’s no delay in Mind’s communication to us, or a moment’s separation from Mind, because what God knows, we, as His idea, know simultaneously. Through the understanding of this oneness, we can trust Mind to guide us precisely in the path of Truth without deviation or error. It’s impossible to mistake Mind’s instructions when we are receptive and attentive solely to Mind’s “voice”—the divine influence. 

As Isaiah puts it: “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (30:21). And in Psalms, God assures us: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (32:8). 

While sat-nav acts as an eye, with the satellite tracking our journey and location from its point in space, it can never be a substitute for the divine “eye,” which keeps loving watch over us
—its own ideas—and ensures our safety. We need only to have greater understanding, faith, and trust that God is indeed all-knowing, ever present, and all-powerful. 

I’ve found this to be the case on so many occasions. Once I had to abandon my car in an unexpected snowstorm and faced a long, unpleasant walk home in the snow without being prepared for it physically—I was not dressed warmly enough for a hike in the snow. I remember that my thought instinctively turned to God, and I began praying for guidance and deliverance, singing the hymn “ ‘Feed My Sheep’ ”—the words of which are by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science. The first verse ends: 

I will listen for Thy voice,
   Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
   All the rugged way. 
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 304)

In those words there is great humility, a healing quality in itself. Almost immediately I heard my name called out of the snow ahead. This voice sounded to me like the voice of an angel! It turned out to be a cousin of mine who was in the Mountain Rescue Service and had been assigned to look for people on the snowbound road. He had spotted me, even though it was dark and snowing and he had no idea I would be there. He was able to take me home in his specially adapted vehicle. As I recall these events now, the words of another hymn come to mind: “We know that Love will guide us, / And safely lead us home” (Frederic W. Root, Hymnal, No.245).

My cousin and I agreed that this was a wonderful demonstration of God’s care and guidance for us both—and for my wife who was waiting anxiously for me at home. My cousin said he felt he had been divinely guided both to be in that precise location at that time and also to be able to spot me on the road in the darkness, and I could not but agree. 

Both on and off the road, I’ve found divine Mind to be the best and most reliable guide. 

My cousin said he felt he had been divinely guided.

Another time, when I was a freshman college student, I felt a yearning to attend a Church of Christ, Scientist, the church I had been raised in and where I currently attended Sunday School. However, there was no Christian Science church in Durham, where I was enrolled in the university, and I knew of no Christian Scientists in the town. I found myself asking God to show me how I could continue my companionship with Christian Science in the city—initially and specifically asking Him, “Father, where can I find another Christian Scientist here?” (for I was sure there must be one). 

Immediately the words came back to me, as if spoken by a friend, “Mention the words Christian Science on the bus.” I was going back to my lodging in a bus with other students. Conscious of Mind’s guidance—the divine instruction I had received which had to be obeyed—I told a fellow student on the bus in a loud voice that I would be “going to a Christian Science church in Newcastle tonight.” 

At that, a girl sitting right next to me said, “Did you say you are a Christian Scientist, because I am one too!” She had already been at the university a year, and as far as she knew she was the only Christian Scientist in the city or at the university. So she was as delighted and grateful as I that divine Love had brought us together—demonstrating Mind’s nature as all-knowing and precise in the process. This girl said she went by bus to a Christian Science church in a town 20 miles away, and from then on I joined her on those trips, both of us going to the Sunday School there together. 

As we come to understand God as the only Mind, and trustingly rely on Mind’s direction, we experience the benefits of Mind’s intelligence. While technological advancements such as satellite-navigation are important to human progress, they only hint at the infinite capacity of divine Mind to guide and bless mankind.

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