I had followed protocol exactly, gotten my documents in on time, and watched as they’d worked their way through the process. Yet, my plane ticket to leave was for the following day, and I still didn’t have the required visa for the country where I was supposed to travel. Despite repeated calls, it looked as if I would need an alternative plan for my business trip.
The lack of government response seemed to reinforce the commonly held belief of chaos and dysfunction in that country. And so, at my usual wake-up time set aside for prayer, I turned away from the fixing-planning-doing mentality that urgently wanted to outline a Plan B. Instead, I focused wholly on feeling the power of the divine presence.
This was not to avoid a problem or to escape from dealing with it. Christian Science shows that it is the nature of God, divine Mind or intelligence, to enlighten us with spiritual good. Even before a solution arises, a situation resolves, or a difficulty ends, this spiritual good calms and strengthens us, and opens our thought to possibilities.
Praying this way—to know and feel spiritual good—removes anxiety and brings an awareness of divine power and presence. And yet, there often is a tension between the human desire to control, fix, and problem-solve and a willingness to yield to the power of divine goodness and Love already governing. Feeling this divine goodness is a natural result of understanding God as infinite, divine Mind. Then the human mind—our limited thinking—drops all the striving for what doesn’t satisfy and exchanges flawed, human concepts for the divine consciousness of what is real and enduring. Moments of prayer enable us to yield to the awareness of divine Mind as the one divine consciousness, and to become willing to let events unfold in front of us.
The textbook of Christian Science states it this way: “Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion; it manifests no material growth from molecule to mind, but an impartation of the divine Mind to man and the universe” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 68). In Christian Science, prayer is not problem-solving with spiritual truths; it doesn’t begin with a problem and then reason through to a solution. Scientific prayer begins with the solution—our oneness with God—and reasons out from there to see more of this reality in our experience. By removing fear, anxiety, doubt, ignorance, or pride, this prayer uncovers what’s already, and always, there, in divine consciousness. Our true being is always at one with this divine consciousness. And prayer helps us work out this spiritual conclusion in daily life.
As the day wore on and I still didn’t have my visa, I visited the consulate. The staff informed me that the head of consular affairs hadn’t shown up to work in weeks. No one had been able to get a visa. They didn’t know if or when the problem would be resolved.
In considering the red tape and what could be construed as corruption or injustice within government, I wondered how I could feel confident about letting things unfold, rather than forcing a change. But it is the Christ-spirit, the divine nature that Jesus showed us as defining our true being, that brings to human consciousness the present realization of divine goodness and power. So, letting things unfold wasn’t passive acceptance. It meant actively committing to seeing the activity of God right then and there, and letting the Christ influence my thinking.
I was impelled to scan the consular webpage and found an emergency number for visa services. When I dialed it, the man on the other end of the line turned out to be the consulate head. I suddenly found myself saying to him, “You’re so needed! I’m going to pray that something good works out.” I could feel the influence of the Christ inspiring my response. Still, he said he couldn’t make it work and hung up.
Five minutes before closing, I was called into the backroom of the consulate. The man had come in to work and was going through three huge stacks of visas one by one, stamping them as he asked me about my motivation to travel to his country. I left with my visa in hand, thinking about the loads of other people who would also receive their visas. The same power of the Christ that moved me to communicate on the phone had spoken irresistibly to this man’s heart to remove any barriers to his own expression of right action.
When the human mind tries really hard to make something happen, often it actually stops it from happening. To some degree, we’ve all experienced how our attempts to control life and outcomes are ultimately self-defeating. Instead, we can actively trust the unfoldment of events—we can confidently see what infinite divine Mind is imparting to our thought and see it unfold in our experience.
As cries for racial equality echo around the world this year, the fundamental spiritual laws that operated to reverse a delayed visa hold true for a more comprehensive sense of justice. When prayer uncovers whatever needs to be addressed in our own thinking, we become part of the solution for larger world problems. Whether facing unresponsive bureaucratic processes with government, or entrenched injustice and perpetuation of racial or gender inequity, the transforming power of the Christ offers hope that past injustices can—and will—be reversed.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 354). This is the action of the Christ-spirit, which fosters a desire in us to see the power of divine goodness at work, removing all impediments. Then, when our best-laid plans need to change, and we don’t yet have a Plan B, sticking with God enables us to feel the divine presence. And this imparts peace, divine goodness, and understanding, enabling us to set aside anxiety, fear, and concern. It enforces the reality that there are not two opposing factors working in life—the Christ is the only influence, grounded in the divine Truth and Love that is God, and always working in human consciousness to shift thought toward justice, equality, and inclusiveness.
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