Last Sunday we heard in church a quote from Mary Baker Eddy, “The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father’s lovingkindness.”
After listening to loads of people going through all manner of problems, those in the midst of difficulties are more likely to ask, “Why would God do this to me,” than feel the “dear Father’s lovingkindness.” They call me because they are so identified with their problems that they can’t see them any other way. They need an objective thought that is more aligned with God than their entrenched one.
I was pondering this when I happened on this quote by Kathleen Norris, “I once heard a Holocaust survivor asked if her experience of a death march and forced labor camp hadn’t destroyed her faith in God. ‘Of course,’ she said, adding, ‘only for a time.’ She had come to the conclusion that what she and so many others had endured was not God’s doing, but was due to human beings having chosen to do evil. She said she now believed that God was good, but had given people the ability to choose between good and evil. As for the terrors that she and the other Jews had endured, she had come to believe that God had been there all the time, suffering with them.”
I totally agree that God did not– is not– doing evil. In the same way God did not persecute the Jews, I am convinced that God does not send sickness either. But I disagree with the thought that God suffers with us. Why would a loving God suffer with us if that God was also all-powerful and could just rectify every wrong?
The Bible clears this up when it says that God “is of purer eyes than to behold evil.” (Hab 1:13) Not only is God never the author of evil or disease, I don’t think God even sees it, since it has no real part in God’s perfect supremacy or God’s creation.
God is infinite, ever-present good, so in the face of that, where or what is evil or disease, error or problems? Indeed, I’ve learned that staunchly acknowledging the entireness of God’s goodness, right where difficulties seem to be, is the ticket out of these challenges.
Mrs. Eddy also says, “A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive.” Basically this is about the disconnect between the human or mortal view and God’s view. When you can realize that God made you all good in God’s own image and likeness, and see yourself or others from that point of view as a “spiritual idea,” instead of one of breakdown or disfunction, things can swiftly change and improve.
Jesus healed because he looked at others, like the blind man for example, from God’s perspective, instead of from the perspective of a suffering mortal. God saw all sorts of terrific Godlike qualities in him, but God never saw (because never created) his problem.
When Jesus looked at the sufferer from this perspective of God’s, where he was created fully good without “a single element of error,” the man instantly became aligned with that truth and was healed. This was not a miracle, it was just a simple but profound change of perspective, a reformed basis of being.
When a person keeps asking, “Why would God do this to me” during a difficulty, they just widen the chasm they find themselves in. It is like asking, “When did you stop beating your wife,” when you never beat her to begin with. Or worse, it is like saying, “Why do bad things always happen to me?,” which is a mindset that invites more problems in by expectation. If instead you only expect and look for Godlikeness, more natural good continues to surface for you.
So the first thing to know is that God is definitely NOT “doing this to you” – unless of course it is wonderful beyond imagining! Focus instead on all the good God is doing, and all the qualities of yours and others that God did author. Be grateful for them. Find strength in the fact that God would NEVER permit error, evil, or disease to have their way with you. Realize that those things are an unnecessary mirage with no water in them.
Don’t seek to justify your pain and suffering unless you want it for keeps. Pain and suffering is illegitimate and not your birthright. Don’t look for blame or understanding of the problem either. That’s like asking who made 2+2=5, or why is 2+2=5. What works better is to learn the truth that dispels the error. God is the highest Truth imaginable, and fixes all problems when properly applied.
Think of the mess your accounts would be in if you thought 2+2=5! Big problems would ensue, which could all be sorted out simply with the right idea that 2+2=4.
God is the Source of every right idea that needs to be applied to any problem, disease, or difficulty. Whatever trouble you or yours are going through, it is just a mistake, which it can be fixed with a “priceless sense of the dear Father’s lovingkindness.”
Understanding the completeness of God’s goodness and lovingkindness can be like letting light into a dark room. Where did all the darkness go? It turns out darkness is merely the absence of something, not the presence of something real that has to be suffered through or heaved away with great effort. The Bible declares, “This then is the message which we declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5)
Let the God-light flood in that banishes all darkness!