Recently, I’ve been considering some of the issues I’m aware of in my family, community, and world. I found myself repeatedly saying, “I’d like to feel some peace about this…I’d like to feel more peaceful about that…” Soon, though, I recognized a problem in my wording. I only wanted a little more peace? Was I really specifying what things I wanted to feel peaceful about, and (apparently) not caring about the rest? I quieted my thought, and instead of trying to formulate a question, I just listened to God.
Quickly, a familiar psalm from the Bible came to mind. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. This gentle introduction to the twenty third psalm reminded me that I didn’t want to divide peace up, or think that just experiencing “a bit more” would be good enough. I know it’s only a small matter of word choice, when people say they want a bit more peace about something, but those little word choices have a funny way of quietly making us think that all we CAN experience is a little bit more. This psalm mentions being made to lie down in green pastures. Those green pastures are not potted with mud holes and sharp scratchy grass in some places. Those pastures – the psalmist’s imagery for heaven – are infinite, precluding any sense of “just a little bit.” Many times, I’ve prayed with the basic premise of, “God, I need a little help here.” Now I could see that this premise, although an innocent mistake, was leading me way off track. God is ALL – all good, all joy, infinite Love. There’s no room for just a little bit. Instead of asking for a little bit of help, and then I can go off on my own again, I want to see that I am in that infinite pasture, now and always. I want to understand that God, my loving Shepherd, has already guided me and made me whole. I’m not praying for something new to happen, or for a real problem to go away. I want to see the whole reality of divine Love!
There’s a story in the Bible regarding limited vs. unlimited good. In the first half of the fourth book of John, we read about Jesus talking with a woman at a well. This story is ripe with meaning and healing, but the part specific to my topic here is in verses 13 and 14, where he says, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The common thought, whether we’re speaking of drought, finances, employment, or even health, is that when we ask for something, it’s because we have nothing now, and eventually what we receive will also drop down to nothing again. Life gets depicted as a constant struggle between having and not having – and then, does my having this mean that you don’t get it? Limited supplies and limited capacities for keeping them don’t make for a harmonious experience. Jesus turns this thought on its head. He says he has water which will make you never thirst again – it’ll even be like a spring from which YOU can give, forever. This water I understand to be his teachings – his expression of the Christ, the divine Comforter. This divine message of healing – of informing us of God’s true spiritual creation – is everpresent.
It’s a subtle lie, that the amount of good we can experience and give is limited, or subject to circumstances. Not only can we read the 23rd psalm as “being led to go lie in green pastures,” we can read it as, “being MADE to lie down in green pastures.” As in, our purpose, our inherent make-up, involves resting secure in infinite heaven. If you make a pizza, it fulfills its purpose as a pizza without question. No-one thinks it should perhaps be used half as a pizza, and half as a doormat. (I hope!) God, being infinite, divine Mind, did a perfect job when he made us, and it is our natural right to fulfill that purpose of being at peace in His care, and not subject to changing temperaments, divisive politics or swings in health.
Regardless of what news commentators, advertisers for new drugs, or your own physical senses say, we don’t need to settle for less than what God gave us. I’m so grateful that my study of Christian Science keeps helping me progress in my understanding of God, infinite good, and this understanding brings healing. Healing for all, not just for some!