As summer turns to fall in Illinois, the wonderful warm days of Indian summer arrive. This is a time of change, not only in the weather, as days become shorter and nights chillier, but often a time of personal changes as loved ones move off to attend college, start new jobs, make new friends, often leaving parents and others behind.
Bob Dylan once wrote, “May you have a strong foundation when the winds of change shift…” Like many others, I have found the Bible to be that strong foundation when facing times of challenge or change. Why? Because the Bible, spiritually interpreted, helps us understand that the power of God is mightier than any fearful situation we may be facing. It’s a textbook on life. Through counsel and example, it shows us how to face any situation, trusting that God’s love and protective power are sufficient to help us no matter the changes we face.
Throughout the Bible there are stories of people who, when they were up against something really challenging, felt the presence and power of God and His great love. For instance, the life of Joseph, son of Hebrew patriarch Jacob, was full of twists and turns. He was sold by his brothers into slavery, falsely accused when he took a moral stand, imprisoned and forgotten by those he had trusted. But Joseph knew God’s great love surrounded him no matter where he was, no matter what was going on. He patiently lived his life under God’s guidance. When he was finally released from prison, he saved a nation from famine.
King David may have been thinking of Joseph when he penned these words about God’s ever-presence and unchanging love during uncertain times: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there” (Ps. 139: 7, 8). This Psalm teaches that God’s direction and affection never leave us, no matter where we are, who we are with (or not with), or how severe the challenges we seem to be up against.
Mary Baker Eddy faced innumerable hardships and life changes before discovering in 1866 the laws of healing in the Bible, especially in Christ Jesus’ teachings and works. (She later named her discovery Christian Science.) Through years of worsening health, the loss of her closest loved ones, poverty, and separation from her only child, she found in the Bible a strong foundation and confidence that God’s love would help her meet these challenges and overcome them.
She did find complete healing and was reunited with her son. She later wrote a book about her journey through the Scriptures–a journey that led her to find God to be reliable no matter the circumstances. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures she wrote, “Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love.”
She taught that turning to the Bible, we can find our own individual relationship with God as a loving Father, Mother, dearest Friend, and especially Healer. This understanding of our companionship with God, changeless Love, gives us confidence, joy, and inspiration wherever life leads us. Even during tough times, these new views of God’s goodness and love found in Scripture heal fear, frustration and loneliness.
One of the most difficult changes I’ve faced was when I took a job that seemed much harder than I expected, even though I knew I was thoroughly qualified for it. After a few sleepless nights of worry and feelings of inadequacy, I found these words in the Bible: “For He [God] performeth the thing that is appointed for me:” (Job 23:14). This passage didn’t lessen the amount of work I had to do, but it did reassure me that God was providing me with the insight, intelligence and fortitude I needed to do the work well. That job turned into a very happy and successful experience.
Enjoy these beautiful days of Indian summer, and allow the chillier nights to remind you that no matter what new challenges you may face, there is an unwavering, unconditional, divine Love enfolding you and those you love, right now bringing health, happiness and resilience into your life.
©2017 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois