I am with you always.
JEAN M. SNYDER
From the August 2, 1947 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
* Photo – Courtesy of allposters.com
Once a sapling grew from a small outcropping rock in the rapids of the Niagara River, just above its plunge over the falls. In the spring floods driftwood washed around it, logs and ice beat against it, yet there the sapling stood, its roots secured in rocks hidden under the waters. One marveled at the frail tree standing against the fierce current of onrushing waters, It seemed to typify the spiritual poise and peace of one who knows that man is forever established as God’s idea, and hence can stand amid the tumult of human discords unafraid.
A tree is frequently used as a symbol of life, strength, beauty, or inspiration. In the first Psalm the righteous man is typified as a tree planted by a river, sustained and nourished by its waters, fruitful and fresh of leaf. Isaiah speaks of those who in place of grief, depression, and hopelessness express joy, praise, and beauty as “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord” ( Isa. 61:3). And in the Poems of Mary Baker Eddy (p. 20) glows her tribute to the oak tree, the mighty sentinel atop a mountain, as
“A lesson grave, of life, that teacheth me
To love the Hebrew figure of a tree.”
Christian Scientists who through Mrs. Eddy’s teachings gain a spiritual understanding of God as infinite good, and of the unreality and powerlessness of evil in any form as a necessary consequence, may be likened to “trees of righteousness.” They find man’s identity and permanency established in eternal Love, embosomed in Spirit, and rooted in divinity; and so they are enabled to stand against the currents of world beliefs and prosper under what may seem adverse circumstances. Thus they prove by their attitude and their acts that they are “the planting of the Lord.” This way of victory and dominion is open to all.
Christian Science offers mankind not only an anchorage and a protection, but salvation from all error. This is gained through the certitude that God, Love, is omnipotence. Therefore there is no power in evil or its false beliefs. God being omnipresence, evil has no real presence; God being omniscience, nothing can be known other than that which this Mind knows; God being omniaction, there is no action apart from Him who controls all things harmoniously; and God being the everliving One, man is ever living in Life, according to “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
These mighty facts were known to the seer and prophet Elijah as he stood upon the mount and viewed with equanimity the phenomena of the forces of nature in their vain display of material power. The incident is related in I Kings ( 19:11, 12) as follows: “And a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” Through his physical senses Elijah heard the wind, felt the tremor of the earth, and saw the fire; but through his spiritual sense he heard the still, small voice of Truth whisper to him of God’s omnipotence. The prophet may have glimpsed the fact that since there was no good in material phenomena there was no truth in them; therefore, they were harmless and powerless, because substanceless. Material sense testimony must thus be subdued and finally disappear before a realization of the presence of the true idea of God and His creation.
On pages 286 and 287 of our textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy vigorously refutes the claims of material sense or animal magnetism, expressed in sin, disease, and death. She says: “They are without a real origin or existence. They have neither Principle nor permanence, but belong, with all that is material and temporal, to the nothingness of error, which simulates the creations of Truth.” Farther on she says of error, “It is illusion, without spiritual identity or foundation, and it has no real existence.” In line with these statements, students of her writings learn to regard the specious suggestions of evil as nothingness counterfeiting the valid creations of Mind. This scientific knowledge enables them to stand calmly against the universal mesmerism of countless forms of error.
The carnal mind instinctively fears, and most of the time knows not why. It is afraid of God, of death, disease, and sin; it dreads the future; it fears heredity; it is even afraid of fear itself. In primitive times attempts were made to conquer fear by magic spells directed against the object of dread, and this practice is not unknown today among savage races and superstitious folk. Myriad ineffective attempts to conquer fear have been made, but Christian Science alone shows that this may be successfully accomplished by pure, confidence in the ever-presence of God, good.
The acceptance and realization of the presence of God, Love, is mankind’s deliverer from the seeming presence of fear. How reassuring and strengthening are the words of the Psalmist ( Ps. 56:3): “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee,” and again his comment upon its utter pretense (Ps. 53:5), “There were they in great fear, where no fear was.” One may be besieged with fear concerning a moral or a financial problem, or cruel beliefs about life which conjure up hopeless pictures. One may be indulging in futile self-pity or despair upon finding himself alone or forlorn. In such moments human sense may indeed cry out, as did even Jesus ( Matt. 27:46), “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But the floods of grief and loneliness cannot overwhelm him who resolutely clings to his oneness with ever-present Love. One remembers how the Master overcame his bitter tribulation and conquered every material error that assailed him. His knowledge of the all-power and all-presence of God, which he reflected, released him from the tomb, so that he could hasten to the friends who had been unable to succor him and share with them his glorious triumph.
The period of perplexity, despair, or loneliness becomes an hour of development and growth Spirit-ward when one. stands, like Jesus, upon the truths which he has made his own. Though one may for a time cling to personal views and joys, yet he will be gently drawn to God and led to accept that which will purge, purify, and exalt him. Mrs. Eddy could never have written for us as she did unless she her self had conquered the arguments of material sense in this very way. Whatever of divine and immortal being one has glimpsed will anchor him in testing times more firmly in true consciousness. The unchanging Principle that forever upholds and forever loves its idea, man, provides the Christ-presence to companion. us in the shadow and in the struggle, to comfort us and bring to all the peace of Love.
As the mesmerism of fear recedes, one looks out from the secret place of Spirit more than ever grateful for the eternal Love that has enabled him to be the victor over discordant circumstance. God’s ideas are not uprooted, erased, changed, moved, or affected by any seeming power or force, for, as Mrs. Eddy writes on page 487 of Science and Health, “The understanding that Life is God, Spirit, lengthens our clays by strengthening our trust in the deathless reality of Life, its al-mightiness and immortality.”