Do you wonder what the future holds for you? Do you every wish you had a crystal ball and could see how it all turns out? I certainly do sometimes… I think we all do at one time or another…certainly when we’re going through a challenge whether it is trying to figure out what’s next in life – jobs, relationships, location, home… or dealing with some form of sickness that seems scary and just wanting to know we will be OK…
I’ve heard people say, “I just want “this” (sickness, challenging situation, sense of lack or loss) to go away. I want healing to come… and I just want to know when and how it will all work out.”
I too have experienced this at times…. This morning I was thinking about the statement from the Bible from the book of Isaiah
… to know the end from the beginning…
and that God knows the future, not only because God is the all-knowing, infinite Mind, but because God knows the present, and is always in the eternal now. This ties in with what is stated in Jeremiah –
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
What does it mean to know the end from the beginning? Well, we know that the Bible tells us in Genesis (which means beginning), that it states “In the beginning God…”in fact, this is the opening line of the whole book, the entire story. And God create man, and everything else, and states that is all “very good.” In fact, God doesn’t declare that it is all VERY good, until the last verse of Chapter 1… not until everything was create and all working together harmoniously.
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…”
So, I think that because God created man and the universe and it was/is all very good… and because God is All and Eternal and unchanging, doesn’t it stand to reason that the end will also be very good, as will all the middle bits…? But how? Well, God is good, and only knows good… and it is just a matter of us waking up and tuning into what God is telling us each moment, that we can experience this goodness for ourselves. In Malachi it states And in Malachi –
…prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
So the good and the blessings are abundant and constant and consistent and never-ending. As Mary Baker Eddy states in her text Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,
“God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love.”
I’m often tempted to think, but what if…? And when I remember, I try to replace that “what if” with “what is”… What is true about God, good, and me and my life as the image and likeness, or reflection of God, good. What is true of God, who is Love, as we learn in the New Testament… and me, who is loved, cherished, adored and cared for unconditionally, as Her beloved child?
I started thinking about all of this because I was reflecting back on a time when I started watching a TV show… it was a real suspense, thriller, action type of show… it’s one of those shows where it’s almost arbitrary where one episode ends and the next starts because it’s constant action and they just pick up exactly where they leave off and always with a cliff hanger about what’s about to happen next. And because it’s on Netflix, one episode came after another and suddenly a good bit of time had gone by and I got completely sucked in for a little while…
I find I’m one of those people that gets really into a book or movie or show, so I’m usually more careful and choosy about what I read or watch, because it tends to stick with me a bit. Lately I haven’t really watched this kind of show because I don’t like those images or feelings to linger in my thought afterwards… (I used to love the crime dramas, but I’m more of a Great British Baking Show or World of Dance kinda person now… though every now and then one of those suspense shows will peak my interest and I’ll give it a try for a bit…
Well, in this case, I found that after watching the show for a little while one night, I ended up dreaming about it and awakening before my alarm the next morning. I couldn’t shake the desire to see what happens next or find out how it all turns out… I was actually afraid for the main character and her friends…
But what I wanted even more at that moment was I actually really wanted to just stop thinking about it all together and focus on my day… and focus my thought on God and prayer… but I couldn’t seem to break the mesmerism. And that’s exactly what it was… mesmerism.
I realized this was the same kind of mesmerism that had a hold of my thought about a physical challenge that I had been working through. It seemed like a scary one… and I found myself wanting to know how it was all going to turn out for my life and my health… much like the show. I was afraid… and sometimes would think about others I had known who had similar symptoms… or what I had read about, seen advertised or even seen in shows I had watched in the past, where it never seemed to turn out very well in the end for the people who had these symptoms.
Well, to deal with breaking the mesmerism of this silly TV show… I decided to skip to the end. I read the brief synopsis of the final episode of the season and it said they would reveal who was behind all the evil stuff going on. So, I watched the first five minutes. That’s all it took. I found out who was behind it, realized that of course the good guys would win… and that was the end of it. The mesmerism was completely broken… shattered, even. My interest in the show what gone, and I was free. I was able to focus on my prayers and my daily work. But it got me thinking in a new way…
What if I knew the end of this physical “suspense drama”? Would I no longer be afraid? Would I see it for the unreality that it was? How could I find out how it ends? How could I really know…? And that’s when the verse from Isaiah came to thought. But I DO know, I reasoned. Because God is All, unchanging Good… that IS true right now and always… and because God created me, in Her image and likeness, I can only be good, and filled with goodness, right now and always. And God wants only good for me, provides only good for me, sustains me with that goodness… as a friend once said, “every part of us was created to glorify God”… so there could never be any part of me that is not good, holy, pure, true… not now, not ever. And with that the mesmerism and fear broke… and I was then better able to pray and hear more clearly the messages God was sending… messages of love… messages that said,
“I love you, I have always loved you, I will always love you, you are my beloved and all will be well, for all IS well.”
The Bible – Isaiah 46:10
The Bible – Jeremiah 29:11
The Bible – Genesis 1:1
The Bible – Genesis 1:31
The Bible – Malachi 3:10
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy p. 2
In case you didn’t know, today is National Peanut Butter Day in the U.S., and to celebrate I ate peanut butter sandwich. Why should anyone care about this obscure holiday, you ask… Well for me it is significant because it is a reminder to pray to know that the world’s children have all they need at every moment. To know that divine Love is meeting their every need, and caring for them. That as the reflection and image and likeness of their divine Parent, they come with infinite supply of good.
Each year on this day I pause to remember this and to pray in this way specifically for the children in Zambia, Malawi and elsewhere, struggling with malnutrition and a seeming lack of supply, and for the organizations such as Every Child Fed (ECF), whereI worked as the Country Director for Zambia, and their partner organization Project Peanut Butter (PPB). These organizations help supply an enriched peanut butter paste to children who are suffering from severe malnutrition.
When I was embarking on this journey to work to support children in this way, it was not helpful to see the children as lacking anything – food, health, care – but instead to know that each idea of Life, Love, God is whole and complete, coming with its own supply – like an acorn that already includes the leaves, bark, branches and roots of a tree all within itself. I find it helpful to know that Love is our true source of supply, and that it is constant, consistent, limitless, infinite and eternal… this is true for everyone… the children in Zambia, as well as US government workers during the shutdown, and anyone else feeling a sense of lack or insecurity. As Mary Baker Eddy states in her inspired text
Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.
She goes on to say, “It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.”Jesus demonstrated the ever-presence of supply by multiplying the loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes… and there were baskets left over! (see Matthew 14:13-21)
But how do we feel and know that our supply will be there when everything points to the contrary… I have found in my experience, that a change in thought can help. Rather than seeing lack everywhere, we can shift our perspective with gratitude for what we DO have… Just as in the example of the loaves and fishes, Jesus gave gratitude first… “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied…”
How can we feel that sense of being satisfied with what we already have and grateful for it? Mrs. Eddy puts it this way,
I have found that supply for the next thing doesn’t seem to show up until I get grateful for what I already have. When I pause and assess what I do have, and give gratitude for all the good that is present in my life, it has a magnifier and multiplier effect… and more good comes in.. like attracts like… so seeing the good already present, attracts more good to come in. (You can check out a previous blog I wrote on supply and the power of gratitude for more on this idea… )
So today, let’s celebrate all the good… and understand our true source of supply, for ourselves and everyone, especially children… and to that, I will raise a jar of peanut butter!
*Note: all of the photos I took while working in Malawi and Zambia with ECF and PPB
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
As Shakespeare so eloquently put it… and so it is with curiosity.
As a professor and abroad director, I hoped to instill a sense of curiosity in my students… what I hoped for was to see a sincere desire to learn more about the world, other people and cultures and ways of life. I think the more we turn outward and learn about others, the more we can cultivate a culture of compassion and empathy… where we can see our common humanity.
However, I’ve recently noticed that curiosity can also have a negative purpose… and I’ve see this popping up over and over lately. This seems to happen when the motive behind the desire to know something isn’t inspired and then it seems to gravitate from curiosity to fascination or even obsession… This would be cast as voyeurism… or even “morbid curiosity” which an online dictionary defines as a curiosity which is so compelling that the curious person is driven to satisfy it, even though he or she knows or strongly suspects that they probably won’t like what they find, or otherwise find something which is irrelevant or unsatisfying…
I first noticed this notion of curiosity being possibly a negative in some cases from a story book I was reading my nephew called My Father’s Dragon. In the second book in the series the main characters a boy and a dragon end up on an island filled with canaries that were all “dying of curiosity” because the king canary was so sick with curiosity about an ancient secret passed down over generations… anyway, it got me wondering if there are situations where curiosity could be a bad thing…
I heard it once said, “never ask a question if you don’t really want to hear the answer”… and this may be some good advice in a way… or perhaps allow us a moment to check our motive… why do we want to know? What purpose does knowing X serve? Will it help the situation?
You may be wondering what I’m getting at, and thinking that it is always good to know more information than less… but let me give you some examples that may help illustrate my point…
Sometimes I hear friends say they want to know more about their partner’s history with past relationships. I get it, I’ve been there… but at these times, I’ve had to ask myself. Do I really want to know? Probably not… but if so, why? Will it lead me to feel better or worse about myself, about my partner, about the other person? Will it lead me to compare myself to others… and does that ever go very well? (Not usually… either we put someone else down and puff ourselves up, or put ourselves down… and either way the entire premise is off because we are often basing our view of ourselves and others not as the image of Love, a perfect, whole and complete creation of the Divine … but as a faulty human)…
In another situation, someone told me that they had gotten more details than they wanted about someone’s passing and couldn’t get the images out of their head. They said they should have stopped the flow of information, but were just so curious about it, they just let happen and now they couldn’t seem to undo it. This is tough stuff… when someone passes, it’s tempting to want what some may call the “gory details”… but do you really want that in your thought? And related to that, it’s easy to get caught up in the trauma and drama of a tragic event… we want to know why it happened? Who’s to blame? What were they thinking? What are others thinking? Why now? Why this way?
These are all examples of what I am talking about when I say that curiosity can have a negative side… I’m not saying it’s wrong… and some may say “human nature” to wonder about these things… and I am not saying that it is not good to be informed to learn from and prevent tragic events from happening in the future… that’s different.
It’s the bit where fear generally gets us spun up asking these questions… and we become consumed with fear in the asking… but in all of that… aren’t the real questions deeper than all that… aren’t we really wanting to know — am I safe? Is he/she safe? Am I loved? Are they loved? Am I worthy enough? Am I good enough? Are they? Will I be ok? Will they be ok?
I find that it is helpful when wondering “what if” it is good to pause and this about “what is”… What is true about me and my fellow man from a spiritual vantage point right now and always…Well for me that always starts with God, with Good, with Love… which I know to be all-powerful, ever-present and eternal. It begins with knowing that I (and everyone else) am created by God, Good… that I am whole and complete… that Life is truly eternal and that Love is truly ever-present… and that not one of us can ever be separated from Love or Life for a single moment. When I get present to that fact, then the questions fall away… and I feel more at peace.
I find the “what ifs” keep us in the past or the future… and to find a sense of peace and the answer to those deeper questions… it’s helpful to stay in the present… in the eternal now… and declare that Love is present and powerful and wrapping us up and keeping us safe and whole. Paul states in Second Corinthians “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
 2 Cor 6:2 – New International Version Bible
To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.
I love digging into words and pulling apart sentences with definitions to get at a deeper meaning. I set about to start rereading and studying one of my favorite books by revolutionary feminist author, Mary Baker Eddy – Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. But because of my love of words, etymology and looking for the deeper meaning, I literally have not gotten past the first sentence of the Preface… “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.” (It’s going to be a long read if I do this with every sentence!!!)… This is an amazingly packed sentence, and really draws you into the book… and my findings were helpful to my study, so I thought I’d share.
I will also note that I almost didn’t look up the word “big”… because of course I know what it means, as I generally know what all these words mean… but that is what I love, is finding all the variety of ways to define a word and applying them to the other words in the sentence to see all the implications, applications and meanings that are possible…
Here are the words I’m working with …
- LEAN –
- to rest against or on
- to rely or depend on/upon
- SUSTAINING –
- to support, hold or bear up
- to keep, to keep up or keep going
- to supply with food, drink and other necessities of life
- to provide for
- to support or uphold (as valid, just or correct)
- to confirm or corroborate
- INFINITE –
- immeasurably, indefinitely, or exceedingly great
- unlimited, unbounded, boundless, endless
- TODAY –
- this present day
- this present time, age or era
- BIG –
- large as in height, width, amount
- of major concern, importance, gravity
- outstanding for a specified quality
- important, as in influence, standing or wealth
- grown up, mature
- magnanimous, generous, kindly
- filled, brimming
- having more than average flavor, body
- loud, orotund (characterized by strength, fullness, richness and clearness)
- with great success
- BLESSINGS –
- the acts or words of a person who blesses
- a special favor, mercy or benefit
- a favor or gift bestowed by God
- praise, devotion, worship
- approval or good wishes
So we could say…
To those who are willing to rest upon, rely and depend upon the boundless, unlimited, endless supply, support and provision of all that is needed, all that validates and confirms our who we are as our true, perfect selves… they will find that this present moment, this time and age, this day… is filled, brimming with large amounts of mercy, goodness, approval, kindly and generously bestowed…
What a great thought … what are you leaning on today?
“Pure and simple and nothing else…” that is what came up at the very bottom of the definition when I clicked “Look up” on the word “pure” in something I was reading on my iPad. I love that idea!
Pure and simple joy
Pure and simple love
Pure and simple truth
And the list goes on… the applications are endless! I love the idea of simplicity combined with purity… our human lives at times seem so hectic and complicated… there seems to be so much drama in the world today. From politics, to relationships, to TV shows, to tweets, to global issues and challenges… there seems to be no end of complications and drama. But in the one true, pure, honest relationship – our individual (and collective) relationship with God, with Divine Love… there is no drama, there is nothing complicated… it is as simple as it is profound. We are the loved of Love.
In looking up the work pure (and purity)… I also found it means – innocence, cleanness, quality, clear, true… spotless, untainted… being that and nothing else…
It means independent of sense of experience – as in pure knowledge.
And it means absolute, utter, sheer – as in pure joy! Pure or sheer joy… like that of a young child playing or dancing …or a puppy frolicking or rolling in the grass… isn’t that the kind of uncomplicated joy we all truly want? Or pure love… untainted and uncomplicated… simple, yet profound… unconditional…
There was a time when I would bristle at the term “purity”… or at least the way that I perceived it being used by religious institutions. When I was younger, it seemed like being pure meant on the one-hand – boring – without the flavor of experience. It seemed like a term for “goodie-two-shoes”… not someone who really wanted to live and experience life to the fullest… experiment and try new things… Or it was for those that were holier-than-thou and filled with self-righteous judgement of others, and it seemed that if you strayed from a life of purity, you should feel shame and guilt… as if you were unredeemable… and a bad __X__ (fill in the religion of your choice). That certainly doesn’t sound simple… but filled with complicated drama.
When I recently dug a bit further and looked up the terms “purity” and “pure” in my Dictionary.com app … and what I found was interesting… some of the many definitions start with the word “freedom”… I found that interesting because I think in the past, a lot of what I was seeking through experimenting with things that may be considered part of an “impure” lifestyle was a sense of freedom… freeing my mind and body… freedom from the shackles and constraints of what I “should” be doing… or from societal expectations and pressures… or an escape from the burdens weighing down my thought, putting them on hold or pausing them by filling my experience with other things that made it possible to forget or ignore them and even world around me… or the dark thoughts I would sometimes have… I mean when you read the news, there is a lot of trauma and drama in the world, let alone in my little life… and sometimes you just need to drown that out a bit… or at least that’s what I thought at the time.
I’ve found other ways to deal with these things in the many years since then, by finding a deeper connection to the Divine which brought healing and a strong sense of security.… but I still struggled with the idea of purity, in part because of my past and thinking that I was not “redeemable”… or at the very least I was judged…
So back to these definitions of “purity” and “pure”… and the fact that it’s about freedom… I made a list from these definitions… freedom from:
- Foreign elements
- Anything that debases
- Anything inferior
- Extraneous matter
- Anything that tarnishes or taints
- Discordant qualities
Wow! Well, I do want freedom from those things! Freedom from guilt, discord, blemish or taint… that would be great! And it IS great! I strive for this each day and have found so much freedom in growing and digging deeper into a more spiritual sense of joy, freedom and purity.
These ideas have given me a lot of food for thought about where I do see and desire purity in my life… pure joy… pure love… pure goodness… that sounds lovely… simple… uncomplicated… and without judgement… With that child-like freedom to find joy in the simple things… I’ve found to be a truer, deeper, lasting and more satisfying and fulfilling joy… much more so than the temporary happiness I may find in complicate or dramatic elements… or finding an escape from it all… instead I seek out that pure and simply joy… in watching the hummingbirds flutter about the flowers and veggie plans on my porch, dog walks in the woods, cooking for family and friends, sitting quietly by the lake and communing with Spirit, reading a children’s story to my nephew… Maybe it sounds Polyana-ish to some, but basking in pure and simple, spiritual love and joy can bring healing and allows us to break free of drama and love our neighbors.
That is the life I am already leading… because I learned that redemption is always possible… and it we are always able to claim our innocence and purity as God’s beloved child in whom He is well-pleased, because that is an unchanging fact. Just as the moment the prodigal son turned from his life and came back to his father seeking forgiveness… the father ran to meet him and embraced him… and he was instantly redeemed by that fatherly love. That is true for any and all of us… we can find that sense of freedom…
And we can all rejoice in a life that is filled with pure and simple love, joy, goodness… if we are willing to seek out the good… “pure and simple and nothing else.”
 Matt 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22 – speaks of Jesus as his Son in whom He is well-pleased, but I believe this applies to each and every one of us as God’s sons and daughters… the children of God
 Luke 15:11 – 32