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Of Good Report

Stolen car recovered

From the March 2020 issue of The Christian Science Journal

A year or two after graduating from college, I was sharing an apartment with my sister and working part time. At one point my car needed to be in the shop for nearly a week, and upon hearing this news a kind family from church lent me their extra vehicle. I was very grateful, and I drove it on my usual route between home and work, and one evening took it to meet my girlfriend (now wife) for dinner. 

After the meal, when I went outside to get in the car, I couldn’t find it. After retracing my steps two or three times to no avail, I realized it had been stolen. I was stunned. 

My thought turned back to the car thief, whom I was now able to see as a pure reflection and honest child of God.

This was a serious blow, as I didn’t have much income at the time, and it wasn’t even my car in the first place. I felt terrible and desperate. I called the family that owned the car and told them what happened; then I called the police and filed a report. I eventually made it back to my apartment, and still distressed and frantic, I sat down to do what I knew was needed most: pray. Not a prayer to an anthropomorphic God asking for the car back, but a prayer acknowledging God as divine Love, the only creator, and acknowledging all of us as His children and reflection. 

I turned to the weekly Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly for more guidance and inspiration, reading it with this situation hanging over me. One of the Bible stories that week was the healing of the man in the tombs who was possessed with “many devils.” Jesus confronted the devils and cast them out of him, after which the man was left sitting “in his right mind” (see Luke 8:26–39).

I used to think of the devils in this story as being intertwined in the man’s personality, a contaminant in his character that needed to be extracted. But what stood out to me when reading it that night was that the man had nothing at all to do with the devils. They weren’t a part of him in any way, shape, or form. It was as if the man were caught under a large net, struggling desperately to get free, but unable to stand up or escape. While most people thought he was demented and uncontrollable, Jesus knew the man had always been wholesome, complete, and a right-minded child of God—that no illusory net of error could enslave him and hold him in a state of wretchedness. Through that understanding Jesus cast out the devils, thereby freeing the man and revealing his true spiritual nature, which had never been tarnished, contaminated, or trapped—no matter how it appeared to the mortal senses.

Harmony is the divine law, and it cannot be caught in a net or cloaked in darkness.

My thought turned back to the car thief, whom I was now able to see (whoever it was) as a pure reflection and honest child of God. God is all-powerful and fills all space with peace, harmony, and joy, and that is all His children can reflect. Although this person seemed to be a lowly and shameless criminal, evil was actually no more a part of this person than the devils were a part of the possessed man in the Bible. Both individuals had really, truly always been in their “right mind.”

I felt peace about the situation before turning in for the night. I was calm knowing that Father-Mother God had always been protecting and caring for each one of us, including me, whoever had taken the car, and anyone who had ever been labeled as possessed or criminal.  

The next morning I received a call from the police. In the process of routinely scanning license plates, they had found the car! It had only been driven a few blocks away from where I last saw it, and when I picked it up, I was pleased to find that the gas tank was still full and the only real annoyance was that the driver had smoked inside. I gave the car a thorough cleaning, inside and out, and returned it gratefully to my church friend with a bounce in my step.

I took home the lesson that no matter what inharmony we may seem to experience, be it illness, discomfort, deceit, or utter desperation, it is simply not a real part of any one of us. When we realize this, healing of whatever is troubling us is guaranteed. Harmony is the divine law, and it cannot be caught in a net or cloaked in darkness. We, as God’s children, reflect and are governed solely by this divine harmony, which is always shining bright for all to see, embrace, conform to, and witness.

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