Governed by God, not the planets
Are there powers other than God? A recent experience proved to me the importance of knowing the spiritual truth that God alone influences our experience.
One Sunday night, a friend met me for dinner, and while parking her car she commented, “I’m having a problem with my car, but I’m not going to get it fixed yet because Mercury is in retrograde.”
I laughed and thought to myself, “What an odd reason not to get your car fixed!” We had a nice dinner, and I thought nothing more of it.
Back at work the next day, I found myself dealing with a difficult issue. My company imports media products, such as CDs and DVDs, from all over the world. We work with a fulfillment warehouse near our main office. A shipment from the United Kingdom arrived at this warehouse with import charges due on delivery. Since I wasn’t there to pay, the driver marked the shipment as “refused,” which led to it being put in holding status instead of the usual redelivery status.
As soon as it had become clear to me that God is the only power, the problem was resolved.
We paid the import charges over the phone, and over the next several days made multiple attempts to get the shipment released—to no avail. As time went by, we were concerned that the shipment would be returned to the UK, which would be costly for everyone.
With frustration mounting, I thought about a statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love. Then we begin to learn Life in divine Science” (p. 322).
I knew I had a lesson to learn, but that didn’t happen immediately. Then, after two weeks had passed, I was driving to our fulfillment warehouse, praying to God for an answer to this problem and listening for divine guidance, when suddenly I had an unexpected thought: Mercury in retrograde.
“Where did that come from?” I wondered. Then I remembered my friend and her car. When I arrived at the fulfillment warehouse, I did a web search for “Mercury in retrograde” on my phone and found that three times a year, the planet Mercury appears to be traveling backward in the sky. This illusion lasts for about three weeks. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “To those who practice astrology, these times in particular were traditionally associated with confusion, delay, and frustration” (almanac.com).
Bingo! This was the false belief I was dealing with. “Confusion, delay, and frustration” certainly described my experience with the delayed shipment. Christian Science teaches that all inharmony is illusion, because God is All and creates only good. But at the time my friend had referenced it, I had not challenged the notion that the planets could have power over our experience, and had allowed this superstition into my thought—and experience.
Accepting the lie that magic, chance, or celestial bodies are causes breaks the First Commandment.
Once uncovered, this error needed to be corrected by understanding that God is the only power. I saw that there is no power opposed to God that can cause confusion, delay, or frustration. As Science and Health very specifically states, “The planets have no more power over man than over his Maker, since God governs the universe; but man, reflecting God’s power, has dominion over all the earth and its hosts” (p. 102).
Prayerfully holding to these truths, I walked into the fulfillment warehouse. Our rep was on the phone with my assistant. I heard him tell her that he had just gotten off the phone with the shipping company, who told him that the shipment had been released and would be delivered the next day!
I felt great joy and gratitude to God for this turnaround. As soon as it had become clear to me that God is the only power, the problem was resolved.
Later, after checking the tracking for the shipment, I learned that the first attempted delivery was on the same day that Mercury went into retrograde, and the problems continued after that. This experience prompted me to consider more deeply what I allow into my thinking.
Our thought is expressed in our experience, so if we want harmony, health, and success, we need to realize that God is the source of all good, and keep out thoughts giving credence to lack, frustration, and inharmony. We need to make sure we’re not tacitly accepting the lie that something besides divine law is governing our lives or our bodies. As we watch what enters thought, we can make sure we only admit the reality of the health and harmony that God causes.
When I casually laughed off my friend’s comment about Mercury in retrograde instead of mentally refuting it with the spiritual facts I knew to be true, I was not doing my job as gatekeeper of my own thinking. A lesson well learned!
Even after the delivery problem was resolved, I felt I needed to address more thoroughly the superstition of planetary influence, or astrology. Merriam-Webster.com defines superstition as “a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.”
The phrase “a false conception of causation” speaks to the illusion that there is another cause besides the one God. Accepting the lie that magic, chance, or celestial bodies are ever causes breaks the First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Instead, as Science and Health says on page 353: “We must give up the spectral at all points. We must not continue to admit the somethingness of superstition, but we must yield up all belief in it and be wise.”
This experience taught me a grand lesson: Never believe in a power besides the one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God; that is, believe in only the one God, good, who is all-powerful, all-wise, ever-present. It’s a lesson I will never forget!