In the early days of Jesus’ ministry, he sent his disciples out into the community ahead of his arrival.  He assured them that every need would be taken care of with these words: “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.”  The work that he had given them to do was profound, work that Jesus himself had already been doing, and training them to do.  He told them, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:” (see Matt 10: 8-10)  He also told them, in essence, that they should just move on from anywhere they were not welcome because others down the road would greet them enthusiastically.  And it proved to be the case.  They returned to him with stories of great success.

At the end of Jesus’ ministry, his advice was much different.  He cautioned his disciples, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”  (see Luke 22:35,36)  What had changed?

Jesus knew he would be leaving them.  At least for a little while.  He was predicting that things would be pretty tough for the disciples – at least for a little while.  And they were.  The disciples would struggle briefly with the loss of the man Jesus – even though he had taught them everything they needed to know about the ever-present Christ he represented.  They would even predict that his ministry was over, and for naught.  The awful story was so compelling Peter suggested they go back to fishing.  And they did.  But even that was unsuccessful.

The Bible says that Jesus appeared to the doubting disciples several times after his resurrection to reaffirm what he’d already given to them (and to predict their success in the future); to encourage and chastise them (see Luke 24:36-39); to give them directions about how to proceed (see Mark 16:14, 15); and to let them know that his love – God’s love made manifest – was ever with them.  And Jesus stuck with it until the disciples finally got it.

And they did get it!  But Jesus predicted that too! He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”  (see John 17:20,21)

That prayer is a prediction for you and me too, that even if the times seem tough, we can believe on him and regain our sense of oneness with the Father.  That guarantees that we’re never really alone, never really without the care and the safety and progress we need.  So whether we go into the world with scrip or without, let’s always be sure to go knowing, even predicting the encompassing care of the Christ.  Then, like the disciples, we too can be assured by this promise: “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”  (Matt 28:20)

That’s a prediction we can live with – eternally!

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

What are you predicting?

January 17, 2013

Do you ever catch yourself saying things like “I bet that’s going to hurt in the morning.”  “You’ll be sorry.”  “Everyone in my office has a cold, so it’s only a matter of time before I get one too.”  “Whatever could go wrong, will.”  “Things never work out for me.”  “Just my luck…”  These kinds of comments are pretty familiar to all of us and often, they turn into what might be called a self-fulfilling prophecy.  So we tend to argue that our prediction was correct – maybe even, that everybody knows that’s just the way things are.

A favorite Bible verse offers a different perspective: “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.”  (see Proverbs 3:5,6)  Obeying that statement moves thought into a new trajectory – away from fear and towards satisfaction, safety, and peace.  How does that work?

First of all, it helps to get thoroughly clear about who and what God is: that He is indeed trustworthy, dependable, ever present, and Love itself, as the Scriptures indicate!  (see 1st John 4:7,8)  The correlative, of course, is being equally clear that your own understanding is simply not up to the task.  Does that seem counterintuitive?  Think of it this way: putting all your trust in God serves to challenge and dismiss those niggling little thoughts that suggest there is some other power or option.  There is no other power if God is omnipotent!

The second part of that verse from Proverbs explains how to trust the Lord and what the wonderful outcome is of doing so.  Acknowledge Him!  In everything!  Acknowledge His guidance, His strength, His compassion, His affection, His clarity.  This is simply obeying the First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  (see Exodus 20:3)  Or as Jesus put it (quoting Deuteronomy) “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  (see Matt. 22:37)

What you get as a result of this trust is the recognition that God is directing your paths.  All of them.  No exceptions.  That doesn’t mean you’ll have a sterile, nose-to-the-grindstone existence though.  On the contrary!  It means your life will be filled with joy and prosperity, with health and happiness, with progress and peace.  Any number of the Psalms will confirm this fact!

A favorite article called “God’s Law of Adjustment” has this profound paragraph in it:

If a person were drowning in mid-ocean with apparently no human help at hand, there is a law of God which, when rightly appealed to, would bring about their rescue. Does the reader doubt this? Then they must believe that it is possible for man to find himself in a condition where God cannot help him. If one were in a burning building or a railroad accident, or if he or she were in a den of lions, there is a law of God which could at once adjust the apparent material circumstances so as to bring about their complete deliverance.

Just to be clear, none of this means that it’s wrong to be prepared.  What it does mean is let God prepare you.  There’s no need to second guess God’s unerring direction.  Mary Baker Eddy, who practiced this deep and abiding trust in her own life, once wrote: “The divine Mind, which forms the bud and blossom, will care for the human body, even as it clothes the lily; but let no mortal interfere with God’s government by thrusting in the laws of erring, human concepts.”  (see Science and Health, page 62)

So, let your trust in God be your spiritual preparation.  Let Him make plain to you how and when to proceed.  Expect that you will be safe and healthy, cared for and secure – under all circumstances.  And then go forward as He directs.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.