Do not be afraid — a healing command

It may be surprising to learn that many people believe that God is harsh, even vindictive toward His children. But looking to the example of Christ Jesus we see that he was showing us the God who is also divine Love itself. He showed that God, Love, heals and protects — God doesn’t bring vengeance on His children, nor does God inflict sickness or cause His children to sin. I think this is especially relevant to thinking about when Jesus told his Disciples, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid. (Mark 6:50 / NKJV)!”

During his brief career Jesus showed us a God who heals every ill and causes man to be better, feel better, and do better. When his students were on the sea struggling to get to shore in a storm, Jesus came to them by walking on the water. They didn’t recognize him at first, but thought he was a spirit. It’s plausible the reason they were at first afraid was because they thought that anything that’s miraculous was actually at the same time dangerous. Obviously it would be mind blowing to see a person walking on water, so it’s also very understandable that they would have found that confusing as well.

In any case, Jesus corrected their thinking and reassured them by first telling them to to “Be of good cheer!”. Thinking on this the other day I realized that was really cool thing for Jesus to say. And then to follow it up with “It is I; do not be afraid” is very powerful. Obviously the two statements go hand in hand, but why did he say something that is almost the same thing, twice?

Jesus was directing them to look beyond what was immediately apparent:

  • He pointed out to them that miracles, healing, or anything extraordinary should not be feared — rather it should stir them/us to feel cheer and hope.
  • Seeing amazing things should help us realize anything is possible with God.
  • Fear has no part in the healing activity of the Christ, or in the practice of being God-like.
  • Handling fear through the realization that God is all-power brings healing — resulting in improved health and morals.

I’ll admit that when reading this story (Mark 6:48-50) about Jesus and his disciples, the first thing I’m most awed by is that Jesus is walking on the water! However, I recently realized the walking on the water is only part of the lesson. The biggest point, and most poignant, is that no matter what we face — Christians need to face down fear through the power of God by utilizing prayer. And what goes in hand with that fact is that Jesus’ works, however mind-blowing, are never a cause for fear, doubt, or disbelief. Rather, everything Jesus did, he did for us — telling us that doing works like these are possible for each of us — here and now, and forever!

He enters into a diviner sense of the facts, and comprehends the theology of Jesus as demonstrated in healing the sick, raising the dead, and walking over the wave.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 369

Jesus taught us to walk over, not into or with, the currents of matter, or mortal mind. His teachings beard the lions in their dens. He turned the water into wine, he commanded the winds, he healed the sick, — all in direct opposition to human philosophy and so-called natural science.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Unity of Good, p. 11

A little gratitude goes a long way

When dark, sad, or doubtful thoughts feel overwhelming, it may seem hard to see the forest through the trees, let alone a light at the end of the tunnel. But regardless of what experiences have recently come to pass, or even lingering feelings from past experiences long ago, the light and peace of God is not far away. Turning thought to a little gratitude goes a long way.

Right where we are, in that moment of heaviness, all we’re dealing with is thought. Yes — what we’re dealing with, all the time, is only thought! So even in that very moment we’re always capable of turning thought to something better, higher, and holier. By utilizing prayer, that’s how we turn away from all evil.

That darkness, doubt, sadness, etc — aka mortal mind as Mary Baker Eddy defined it1 — is so full of fear. But the wonderful fact is, fear and all its clamoring friends, are powerless against divine Love, God. Our God, the one infinite God, is ever at hand and is ever-present and omnipotent good. And when we turn thought to gratitude, we’re opening the flood-gates to the power of good—divine Love’s healing power. And expressing gratitude is a very powerful form of prayer.

Just acknowledging a little thankfulness for what is good in our lives, is really our thought turning to God, our Father-Mother, with heartfelt thankfulness that brings healing. That inner turning, the moment of pivot, allows each of us to hear God’s love for us. Yes, we may be thanking God in prayer, but God, in that same moment is saying to each of us, “I love you! I have never left you alone, nor have you ever been beyond my safekeeping.”2

We often hear that prayer is us working to help God understand that we need more good to our lives. Really it’s the other way around: God is always speaking to us, helping us, and supplying infinite good, but sometimes we get off-track and become more concerned with our own personal opinions and human desires. Most of the time we need only a slight realignment to help us realize all the good, from God, that is present and is within us. Sometimes a vigorous effort is needed. But in both cases, we’re never far from God’s loving grace, the healing Christ, which banishes all error and evil on our behalf.

Divine Love is ever with you! No matter where you are or how much good, or bad, seems to be in your life right now, take a moment to acknowledge the fact that divine Love’s supply of good is present within you and the fact that all good comes only from God, Spirit, — and that good is never in nor from matter. You’ll feel a difference —you’ll feel more attuned, more peaceful, and you’ll hear God’s love spoken to you directly.

Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
—Exodus 33:11 (NLT)

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
—2 Peter 1:2-3 (NLT)

Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.3


1Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 377:26-29
2 Isaiah 41:10-13

Praying through the curves

What can we do when sudden upheaval arrives at our doorstep? Where can we turn?

I remember when I was called to a meeting announcing a newly formed team within our office. Before the team was formed, I was originally hired to be on that team. While I worked the year before, I was assured I would be on that team. After all, it was why I was hired. However, to my surprise and despair, I was not put on the team. Instead, when the team was introduced I stood there in confusion and dismay.

I wouldn’t be honest if I said I wasn’t tempted to feel angry in that moment. But instead of choosing that path, I turned quietly to God. I was humbly yearning to know what I should do. I wanted to know how to handle this surprise that was thrown in my direction. Had I been playing baseball I probably would have felt more like I was hit with the ball rather than just thrown a curveball. But, in any case, I knew I had to move forward. But how?

Going into my proverbial closet of quiet prayer, as Jesus instructs us, I asked for God’s guidance. I thought at first that the answer I would most likely get from God would be to just forgive and endure. To my surprise a slightly alternate instruction came: “Forgive… and look for a different job.” I thought, really? But I thought if the idea to look for a new job came from God, it couldn’t be wrong. And if I heard incorrectly, I wouldn’t find an opening that was apparent, or worth applying for.

But sure enough, I found a job online that looked and sounded perfect. I contacted the Human Resources department (HR) and submitted my resumé for consideration. Within a couple weeks I had an interview where my interviewer and I hit it off right from the get-go. I thought, “Wow! this feels great. I can’t wait for the second interview.” But what is more, the HR representative called me within an hour and said when do you want to start.

To me, this lesson helped me see three things:

  1. When we get surprised, to whatever degree, turning to God, divine Love, in prayer is the first step.
  2. Having a humble heart and a willingness to let go of our preconceived notions of what should happen, or what should have happened, helps us to get clearer messages of God’s guidance.
  3. Having faith and trust in what God tells us, and acting on His directions, is a requirement, too.

Since then, when other moments like that one arose, one thing that has helped me greatly is knowing that whenever God, divine Love, gives us directions, Love’s directions include a sense of peace. So when a good idea comes from Love, this new idea also brings a peaceful feeling that assures it’s good and that it’s from God.

On the other hand, if I feel anxious, worried, or fearful, these things help me to pause and pray more — to listen more deeply for God’s directions. Often in these moments of doubt and fear, I find myself turning to The Holy Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. These books provide wonderful means to help quiet those restless feelings and also gain a more spiritual understanding of God’s infinite goodness.

Yes, it seems that many of the surprises we seem to experience appear to be about a job, relationships, finances, etc. However, I truly believe these upheavals really point us toward an underlying and greater need at hand — to understand God better.  This understanding shows us that God is our true source of supply, happiness, satisfaction, and more. I also feel these are opportunities! These moments show us that learning more about what God is, rather than trying to fix a material circumstance or a physical problem, is what truly heals our woes. Understanding God better helps us to also grasp the reality of being made in God’s image and likeness (as the Bible says) — and that this is an eternal and changeless fact.

This truth is true for each of us and no curveball, difficulty, nor sin, can reverse the eternal reality that each of us is forever kept safe and protected by divine Love.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:4-5 (NIV)

We ask the helmsman: “Do you know your course? Can you steer safely amid the storm?” He answers bravely, but even the dauntless seaman is not sure of his safety; nautical science is not equal to the Science of Mind. Yet, acting up to his highest understanding, firm at the post of duty, the mariner works on and awaits the issue. Thus should we deport ourselves on the seething ocean of sorrow. Hoping and working, one should stick to the wreck, until an irresistible propulsion precipitates his doom or sunshine gladdens the troubled sea.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 67

 

So grateful!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful  time of year to be with friends, family, or even off on your own adventure. I also think Thanksgiving offers a wonderful reminder of God’s, divine Love’s, goodness, bounty, and Her healing power that is always at hand to help and uplift our situation. God’s grace is ever ready to save and heal — how wonderful is that? Love’s abundant mercies are ever-present and always at hand.

Wherever this finds you on Thanksgiving, I hope you take time to give thanks, primarily to God, and to honor all the good that comes with knowing that God, divine Love, is the one God and is the only power governing your life.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
—Psalms 147:7 (NRSV)

 

Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.3

Utilizing prayer to see differently and to heal

A friend of mine wrote a great blog about how if we’re aiming to heal we must “walk over the waves” of material thinking, fear, doubt, etc. However, if you’re new to Christian Science, this may sound daunting when you’re first starting out. But don’t get worried. As my friend Ken wrote, it’s God’s law that supports our efforts.

Jesus taught us to walk over, not into or with, the currents of matter, or mortal mind.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Unity of Good, p. 11

When we’re learning and realizing that we can pray and get results — for ourselves and others — it doesn’t surprise us that it takes work and practice at seeing differently. Persistence is definitely key in Christian healing. Christ Jesus constantly instructed his students, the disciples, to think outside the box of the material senses —which provide both limited and false information. He once asked his disciples, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? (Mark 8:18 (NKJV)).”

On one hand it might sound like he’s discussing the physical senses. When we read the surrounding verses we can see he’s helping them understand that there is more going on than meets the eye. He was really pointing out that we have a spiritual sense that enables us to see and hear spiritually. Spiritual sense also helps us understand that God’s power governs everything! What is more, when we see spiritually this helps change our view of things, while also changing our experience, too.

And, in this specific Bible story, Jesus pointed out that when he fed the five thousand and the seven thousand, there was actually infinite supply coming from God, as seen through spiritual sense, even though a few loaves and fish among so many hungry people appeared very limited to the physical senses.

You may be asking yourself, “That sounds really nice, but how do I change my thought?”

Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, really provides the best insight on the “how” because it explains the Bible and Jesus’ teaching in such a way that each of us can put biblical concepts into practice — daily and in diverse circumstances. And its no coincidence that the first chapter of Eddy’s book is called “Prayer.” That’s where and how thought can change.

When we utilize the power of prayer, each of us is utilizing our direct connection to God and our God-given spiritual sense to find thought-changing freedom that brings safety whatever situation we face. Through prayer, we can rise above the swirling mist of weather forecasts, anxiety about sickness or sin, as well as daunting politics, or anything that may burden our thought into feeling discomfort or lack.

By turning to God, in prayer, we’re immediately helping ourselves get aligned to what God knows is true rather than what we think we know. It’s what God, Truth, knows about His creation that helps us realize and see — through spiritual sense — the permanent harmony that’s present in ours lives and for the world. Through God’s loving power and support we can walk over the waves of fear with confidence  — whether the situation is disease, finances, weather, school, politics — you name it, God’s loving power removes the danger and lifts us up.


But as for me, my prayer is to You,
O Lord, in the acceptable time;
O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
—Psslmd 69:13 (NKJV)

In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as “a very present help in trouble.” Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.”
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 12

It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, — of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 12