Like a continuous golden thread the omnipotence of good runs through the entire fabric of his various experiences, linking the different parts together into a complete whole. The poet Browning caught some vision of this divine continuity when he wrote, “On the earth, the broken archs; in the heaven, a perfect round” (Robert Browning, “Abt Vogler,” The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse, eds. Nicholson and Lee, 1917).
The limited range of human vision can see only “the broken archs” of the circle, the bits, the pieces, the detached portions, so to speak, of the entire plan, the “perfect round,” but when we come to see more as God sees, we realize that each and every one was needed in order to make manifest that which was an established fact in Mind before the morning stars first sang together in joy.
One sometimes hears it said: “But why should all this come upon me? Why do I have all this trouble when I am trying so hard to do right?” Joseph was trying to do right, too, yet it did not save him from the pit and the dungeon. Daniel was trying to do right, and yet he had to go into the lions‘ den. They were just new opportunities to prove in what direction their trust lay, whether in the omnipotence of good or in the boasted power of evil. It is safe to say that there is hardly a person in the world today who does not, at times, feel he has something to forgive. Perhaps even yet, strive as one may, a certain face comes back again and again upon his mental vision, or a certain set of circumstances, which he would fain forget, intrudes itself upon his harmony. If so, let him find comfort in pondering the story of this man of long ago who accepted adversity so well, and trusted God so completely, even under the greatest stress of circumstances, that the wonder and the inspiration of it have come down to us through the lapse of all these dusty centuries.
Unpleasant and unjust and trying experiences come to everyone of us, and they are easily accounted for, because as Christian Scientists, we are constantly going against the current of popular thought, and when one rows his boat upstream and against the current he encounters more obstacles and goes more slowly than the one who is idly drifting downstream. But to float along with popular opinion and established precedent, is not to grow. Instead, let us say with the apostle, “… none of these things move me” (Acts 20:24). Not one of these things should shake our trust in God and his perfect plan, which as yet, we may discern but faintly, but in which every one of us belongs. We must trust him with these “broken arches,” these seemingly unattached incidents of daily experiences, and realize that, even though we may seem to be cast into the deepest pit of loneliness, fear, and despair, all things are still working together for good. Love will never leave us comfortless, and already a friendly hand, yet unseen by us, may be reaching out towars us in the darkness. Do some of us feel we are already slaves to wrong environment, held in subjection to materiality, placed in the stifling atmosphere of surroundings not conducive to spiritual growth an development, a veritable prision – house of limitation, twarted effort, discouragement, frustration? These are only bringing new opportunities to prove that God is All-in-all, to trust more, to forgive more, to see the perfect man where sense testimony would see an imperfect mortal, to maintain the impersonality of evil, and to ask ourselves the question, “Do we yet understand how much better it is to be wronged, than to commit wrong?” (Miscellaneous Writings, p 130). Then let us praise God for thses lessons in patience, humility, unrequited service, unappreciated effort, hope deferred, forgiveness, charity, unselfed love. Suffering sense can only see the present moment, finite testimony, but let it be ever remembered that “what is termed material sense can report only a sense of things, whereas spiritual sense can bear witness only to the Truth” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.298).
“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted” (Isa. 54:11), dry those unavailing, useless, unworthy tears, and look up. Lift your thought above “man’s inhumanity to man,” to realize more of the dear father’s great universal love, and His care for everything, the flowers, the stars, the birds, the little lambs asleep, the baby leaves just uncurling in the April sun. Would His love enfold all these in tenderest care, and yet forget you, His dear child? The hour will surely come when you look back upon this present experience, which now seems so hard, and cruel, and unjust, and realize that it was really a blessing in disguise, in that it compelled you to loose your hold upon human help and turn more unreservedly to God as the supreme power, the one great All-in-all. You will at length realize. thta had it not come, you might not have so quickly reached the higher point of vision whereupon you stand today; and as you look back upon it, and see how much it taught you, and how far along the way you are because of it, your heart will heavenly sing for joy, and you will find yourseld wispering, as to someone very near,”father, I thank thee.”