Trust in God and Live
Bettie B. Thompson, C.S., of Washington, D.C.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Trusting God wholeheartedly," says Christian Science lecturer Bettie B. Thompson, "is a way of life." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, sponsored Mrs. Thompson's lecture, "Trust in God and Live," given yesterday, October 24, 1982, at the Strand Theater in the Dorchester section of Boston. As the lecturer sees it, genuine trust, "a simple, sincere admission" of God's power and goodness, brings "a sense of His nearness." Trusting God, she adds, is more than wishful thinking; "it's trusting the very source of our existence, the only power, indestructible divine Love. . . . This triumphant trust empowers us to receive our God-given blessings of freedom and health."
After careers as a college professor and a personnel and administrative manager, Mrs. Thompson began devoting full time to the public healing ministry of Christian Science in 1974. She is lecturing throughout the United States as a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship.
Stephen Vincent, a member of The Mother Church, introduced her.
An abridged text of the lecture follows:
If you would visit the chambers of the United States Capitol in Washington, you'd see on the wall this inscription: "In God We Trust." This motto was first used on the 2-cent piece in 1864 to show the source of America's strength. And, of course, it's being printed on all United States currency today. After I saw the inscription, I began to question the concept of trust.
Accepting God's absolute power
What is trust?
I'm sure everyone here trusts something or someone, be it mother, father, spouse, friend, or oneself. Now, what do you trust?
Many advertisers would have us trust their products. Many people place their trust in money. Some place their trust in precious stones, diamonds, pearls, and even gold. Others place their trust in high walls and strong shelters. Does trust in any of these things guarantee our well-being? I am sure your answer is no! Then we need to protect ourselves from the intruding thought of such artificial trusting. Let's think together on this subject of genuine trust, which is so very important to our joyful and victorious living. Trusting God wholeheartedly improves the quality of our experience. In fact, it is a way of life.
The Bible declares that God is the creator of man; that man is made in His image. We can certainly trust our creator. We'll do so more completely and effectively as we are willing to accept God's absolute power.
Why trust God when we've never seen him? The Bible explains why. And the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, shed light on the Bible teachings and inspire an unfaltering trust in God. These books explain what He is: incorporeal, limitless, good. God, good, is really All-in-all. The nature of His being is expressed in terms used or implied in the Bible - terms such as Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love.
Trust rules out fear
Trust in God is supreme trust. It's trusting the very source of our existence, the only power, indestructible divine Love. We grasp the thought that God is our Shepherd. He loves us and never stops providing for us. He never stops maintaining the harmony of His creation. That's why we should trust Him.
But as you know, sometimes we find this hard to do. Even Jesus' disciples fell short here. On one occasion Jesus reprimanded them for "their unbelief and hardness of heart" (Mark 16:14). They didn't believe or trust the report of those who had seen him after the resurrection. They didn't fully trust God's power to preserve man's life.
A simple, sincere admission of His power and infinitude brings a sense of His nearness, a knowing that "thou art with me." Then we're willing to walk with Him, fearing nothing.
Trust knows courage, but not its opposite, fear. Trust in God opens our thought to His power, which lifts us out of undesirable conditions. It is God's constant provision for man that enables us to feed the family and to pay the mortgage. God, Love, empowers us to have dominion over sickness and sin.
Trust in God advances our spiritual growth. It transforms a belief of helplessness into an understanding of the absolute unity of God and man.
Now, let's determine whether you and I practice trusting God. Suppose for a moment your debts were at the critical stage where your creditors were pressing you for payment. Unless you met these debts, you would lose your most valued possessions.
A test of obedience from the Bible
There once was a woman in the Bible who faced a situation just like this. She owed a huge debt, and her most valued possessions were her two sons. The magnitude of her debt couldn't be satisfied with the taking of one son. Both sons would have to be placed in bondage to work off the debt.
She went for help to Elisha, a prophet of God. He asked her what other thing of value she had in her house. Her answer was: only a pot of oil. The prophet told her to gather every available container she could from neighbors. Then, in the privacy of her house, she should fill every container with oil from the one pot she owned.
I'm sure she was surprised that when she poured and poured oil from that one pot, it never ran out of oil. It seemed to be inexhaustible. She filled all the containers she had acquired. When she told Elisha of her experience, this is what he said: "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest" (see II Kings 4:1-7). This she did. She trusted and obeyed the promise given by Elisha. Her trust in God resolved a very challenging situation. Her sons were saved from bondage.
Much like this woman of the Bible, Mary Baker Eddy sought release from bondage - release from poor health and sorrow. She searched for an increasingly clearer understanding of the healing power of divine Truth. The purity of her perception of God and man illustrated the teaching of Jesus, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
Mrs. Eddy pioneered in spiritual healing and in the 1860s she discovered the divine laws that correct human ills. She discovered that a fundamental change in an individual's thought and attitude toward trust in God - and an understanding of God - plays a vital role in revealing his real spiritual wholeness.
Mrs. Eddy's work far-reaching
Mrs. Eddy was a compassionate and an effective healer. Her constant spiritual perception of God's law of perfection and of man's wholeness frequently healed those with whom she associated.
For instance, on one of her walks she approached a seven-year-old boy, sitting alone on a beach. Sitting, because he'd never walked - he had club feet. His mother had gone a short distance away to hitch their horse and wagon. When she returned, she saw her son walking with Mrs. Eddy, hand in hand. The mother was thrilled when she saw this healing (Peel, "Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery," p. 201).
Mrs. Eddy's lifework transcends the ages! Her vision that a Christian discipline could bring solutions to all human needs through an absolute Science is being fulfilled daily.
She taught that Christian Science reveals an understanding of God, of His nature and His creation. She proved that the applying of this understanding of perfect God and perfect man to specific human needs cares for those needs. It transforms and harmonizes human life.
Man's perfection, Mrs. Eddy discovered, is wholly spiritual and infinitely good. Through Christian Science we can begin to prove this truth, bring it into human view. From the Bible Mrs. Eddy learned to reconcile a deep assurance of God's goodness with what seemed to be her experience.
Man's perfection revealed
Convinced that Life, God, is All, Mrs. Eddy embraced wholeheartedly primitive Christianity. She realized that man is not alienated from God, neither is he a depraved, deprived, or a sick mortal. She demonstrated that healing is the natural working of God's law in human consciousness, revealing man's uninterrupted perfection.
Though plagued with ill health and poverty as a young woman and later deserted by friends, maligned by some of her followers and publicly ridiculed, she refused to consider herself victimized. Instead, she persisted in communicating her perception of God and man to others and in attracting followers to Christian Science.
It's reported that during a difficult period she moved eight times in one year. In her later years a lawsuit instigated by some of her opponents falsely charged that she was physically and mentally incapable of managing her affairs. This vicious attack failed. It proved to be totally without any basis.
In the midst of such trying experiences, she trusted God and renewed her strength. Her task was big. She was establishing the Church of Christ, Scientist, and the Christian Science periodicals - the Journal, Sentinel, Herald, the Bible Lessons in the Christian Science Quarterly - and The Christian Science Monitor.
Spiritually directed to record her discovery, Mrs. Eddy wrote the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The Bible is its foundation. Not only did she trust God to reveal eternal truth, she obeyed the divine command to share God's message. Hundreds have been healed just by reading her book.
What an example she has given us of the victory that comes through an unwavering trust in God and a love for humanity!
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart" (Prov. 3:5), the Bible commands. Those who obey it receive the promise of good. The benefits of strictly observing the command to trust God are unlimited. Mankind's suffering, even disease, can be healed when this commandment is uncompromisingly obeyed.
The notion that individuals can't safely trust God in acute and chronic illness is completely false. It was boldly disproved by a very good friend. Sometime ago, before my friend began seriously studying Christian Science, he suffered from glaucoma. He could hardly see objects held right in front of his face. The condition frightened and depressed him. Periodically he went to a doctor, who checked the eye condition and gave him medicine for it. He was told that if the medication were discontinued, he would go blind in six months.
Meanwhile he heard about Christian Science, and so my friend talked to a Christian Science practitioner about his interest in this religion. That conversation with the practitioner aroused his curiosity.
He had to make a decision. Did he want to stay in his condition, since there was no medical cure? Or would he try Christian Science? He decided to rely on Christian Science for healing and asked a practitioner to pray for him. He also intensified his study of the Scriptures and Science and Health. He abandoned the medicine and accepted treatment through prayer alone.
During this period he lost three pairs of eyeglasses. Every time he lost a pair, he went out and bought another pair. Finally the practitioner said: "Has it occurred to you that you may not need glasses? That God made you perfect and our prayers are effective; for God is the only healing power." My friend reasoned that he could trust God supremely and so stopped wearing glasses. His sight improved.
Awakening to a spiritual view
One day he went to a Christian Science lecture. During the lecture he discerned the liberating and triumphant power of the Christ. He awakened from the cloudiness of a material view to the clearness of a spiritual view. He perceived that vision is a spiritual gift of God. It can't be destroyed. On his way home, his vision cleared. He found he was free - free from the pain and pressure - completely healed.
You and I can trust God's infinite care with our most valued possessions. We can leave with Him the protection, development, and health of those close to us as well as ourselves. I should know. My friend who was healed of glaucoma is my husband. The healing took place many years ago and it has been permanent.
Trust in God brings salvation. It brings spiritual renewal, freedom, and health.
Christian Science demands a higher reach to divine goodness in thought and action. And this higher standpoint is practical in resolving the smaller as well as the larger problems of humanity.
A minor incident brought for me a major healing - that of believing man, God's offspring, to be untrustworthy.
Once I was away from home in a strange city and discovered I'd lost my handbag, containing many valuables. After a careful, unrewarding search, I became baffled. But I knew as a Christian Scientist that I had to trust divine Love, Principle, for protection of my property.
Through prayer I established true reliance on God and boldly placed my trust in Him. I denied as baseless any feelings of distrust. This enabled me to rid myself of any doubt.
False concepts of man replaced . . .
In Christian Science, a primary aspect of prayer is knowing, realizing, the truth of God and man. I affirmed that God, as creator, divine Principle, is in charge of the universe, embracing all identities. I knew that man and the universe are in reality totally spiritual and concordant because God is Spirit, the source of unending harmony. I trusted, not fallible people, but the infallible qualities of divine Love to correct every thought of fear, deprivation, and distrust of man.
Man expresses righteousness. He's motivated and governed by divine Principle. Disciplined and sustained recognition of these truths silenced my thought that man is a dishonest, sinful mortal. I replaced all false concepts of man - including self-condemnation - with trust in divine Principle's allness. I began to see man as he is in reality, good and honest.
As a result of this prayer I called the busy restaurant where I had visited earlier. When I did, I was told, "Yes, we have your handbag." It had been entrusted to the cashier. After I arrived at the restaurant to pick it up, I started to open and inventory its contents. But the cashier quickly stopped me, saying, "Don't worry, your handbag hasn't been opened." She was right. My money, plane ticket, credit cards - everything was in place!
I really rejoiced! This was proof of God's infinite gift of love. Here was a reassuring moral healing of despair and distrust. This showed me something about man. In fact, it confirmed what I already knew: that man's true identity is the pure, upright expression of divine Principle.
. . . greater closeness to God realized
People retrieve possessions every day without any help from Christian Science. How did Science add to my experience? Well, it reminded me that having everything I needed wasn't a stroke of luck but a certainty of divine law. It relieved me of anxiety. Christian Science turned me closer to God by impelling me to apply His healing law. And most of all, I gained a rich reward for trusting. This experience not only reestablished my trust in God, it awakened an abiding trust in my fellowman, a trust that rests, not on the illusion of his record as a mortal, but on the understanding that man is the perfect, immortal child of God.
We can realize through prayer that despair, sickness, or disappointment is no part of us. We have an obligation to rightly identify ourselves with contentment, health, and joy. These are indispensable divine qualities that we reflect as our true identity. In proportion as we do this, our trust in God is strengthened.
If we're God's image, as the Scriptures say we are, and God is Spirit, can we be anything other than spiritual? The origin of man is spiritual intelligence. God, active Mind, governs him, is the only intelligence man has. Man is therefore God's expression. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health: "Man is the expression of God's being. If there ever was a moment when man did not express the divine perfection, then there was a moment when man did not express God, and consequently a time when Deity was unexpressed - that is, without entity "(p. 470).
As we realize the full potential of this scientific statement, we gain a keener sense of our call to be sentinels of thought, praying unceasingly. We pray in Christian Science for the destruction of false traits and for the establishment of humility and love. Prayer is the way of spiritualizing thought, aligning it with our creator, divine Mind.
The importance of Jesus' example
If our prayer isn't answered, this doesn't mean the source of prayer is fallible. We may need to deepen our resolve, strengthen our trust in God. God, who is all-knowing, supplies us daily with what we need. Christian Science shows how the power of God aids the individual who prays and forgets a false view of himself.
Through a prayer of love, of certainty and steadfastness, our desire for wholeness and peace can be fulfilled. Our wholehearted trust in God's supremacy and in the immutability of the Christ, Truth, fulfills the prophecy of eternal salvation.
The Christ is the true idea of God. It's eternal, having no beginning or ending, ever active and operating in human thought to bless and to heal mankind.
As the Way-shower, or Exemplar, Jesus embodied the Christ-power and Christ-spirit, and he drew all good from one inexhaustible source, God.
Jesus illustrated the importance of living in conformity with the Father. He proved that a perception of man and his relationship to God enables us to surmount obstacles to our well-being. An understanding of this relationship helps us to replace material law through an absolute trust in God.
Christ Jesus beheld man as the child of God, wholly dependent on God for his being. He declared that the Son possesses nothing of his own apart from God and does nothing of himself. But he can do all as God's reflection.
Jesus consistently paid homage to the Father through prayer and through the works that followed it - the healing of moral weakness and sickness. As Christians we deeply love Jesus and his apostles and look to the Bible as our daily guide. Jesus instructed us to do as he did, and said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do" (John 14:12).
Unreality of evil perceived
He trusted no material remedies. Neither did he advocate the use of medicine to perform greater works than he, but he taught firm reliance on the power of God. His method worked centuries ago, it works today, and will always work when prayerfully applied.
Christian Scientists heal on the same basis as Jesus healed. Mrs. Eddy writes: "It is plain that God does not employ drugs or hygiene, nor provide them for human use; else Jesus would have recommended and employed them in his healing. The sick are more deplorably lost than the sinning, if the sick cannot rely on God for help and the sinning can" (Science and Health, p. 143).
Isn't it wise for us to put our unlimited trust in God, the great Physician? He never wavers or fails. The effects of trusting divine Love have convinced thousands of the efficacy of Christian Science.
The revelation of this Science awakens us to the unreality of evil. It explains how to replace a material concept of life, which views evil as a permanent fact, with a spiritual understanding of life. The nature of evil is to present itself as something, when in fact it's nothing. Evil is all that is opposed to the nature of God, and it's a supposed inversion of good, a misconception of God and man. In John we read, "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24). God, Spirit, is infinite. He's everywhere. Then can there be anything else unlike God, present anywhere?
God did not make evil. Therefore evil is not an entity. It's only an illusion - a lie. It would deceive us through the senses by portraying life as physical and sensual. But this is a faulty view of life. It disappears from thought in proportion as we understand and trust divine Truth.
The Christian Science position is that evil has no life or intelligence. By taking this stand, we don't ignore evil. Nor are we escapists. We confront the lie of evil with trust in God as the only power. Many have found health and joy in just this way - by recognizing the infinite might of divine Mind and the powerlessness of evil. They've proved beyond doubt that the more we know of God, the less we fear or experience the thought of evil.
A veteran who turned to Christian Science
There is no place for evil to operate in the perfectly ordered universe of Spirit. If God made everything good - and the Bible assures us that He did - how could He be the creator of discord? How could divine intelligence conceive of illness or loneliness? He couldn't!
As we understand this truth of God's allness and His goodness, the lie of evil is erased from our thinking - and that's the only place it exists. So it's not only possible to destroy evil - it's inevitable. Evil simply can't coexist with good, God.
If we look to a power other than God for good, it's certain that we'll become disappointed, for no other power really exists. And we certainly can't put our trust in something that doesn't exist. On the other hand, if we know that "it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13), then we're growing into an enlarged apprehension of what God really is. And that's where our trust belongs - in God, good.
I know a man who demonstrated unfaltering trust in God. Before he was a Christian Scientist, he was injured in the military service. The trouble was diagnosed as a cracked vertebra and a slipped disk. The medical experts reported the only remedy for possible relief was an operation. Nothing definite could be promised.
He couldn't bring himself to have an operation, and for more than 20 years he was in constant pain. Frequently he spent days in bed, immobile because of an injured back.
But then he was introduced to Christian Science and placed radical reliance on God for healing. His only remedy was Christian Science treatment, or prayer.
His decision to trust God for this healing was a milestone. He learned that God, who produces health and concord, annihilates discord. He learned to assert the power and reality of God and the nothingness of evil.
Understanding perfect action
He tried to purify his consciousness and to deny any false view of himself as a suffering mortal. He opened his thought and searched for a spiritual concept of God and himself. He turned away from a limited, material concept of identity and realized his complete spiritual freedom. From studying the Bible and Science and Health he gained the understanding that God expresses Himself in perfect action, and that he could demonstrate this action.
He conquered the deception of the senses by relying on the activity of the Christ, God's eternal healing idea. He demonstrated the power of trust in divine Truth and won regeneration. He gained his freedom and an added reward of trust. He learned that whatever the material senses might suggest, he could trust his health to God. He could trust himself also to be God's perfect child.
Acts of spiritual healing have often been attributed to some supernatural power or to miracles. But Mary Baker Eddy explains spiritual healing. In her book Science and Health she elucidates the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. She shows the possibility of all people healing, as the Master commanded. She explains that there are no mysteries or miracles to the all-knowing Mind; that healing is the natural result of the understanding of divine law; that harmony and life are the normal state of man.
Mrs. Eddy's spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures has proved valid. Her contribution centers thought on the teachings and works of Jesus and on the rules that enable us to demonstrate the healing and saving power of the Christ.
Spiritual rules can be trusted
Her lifework has given everyone the privilege of applying the rules that lead to total salvation from materiality. These rules are basic to the well being of society and to life itself.
The rules of divine Science are spiritual and can't be compared to physical or natural laws. The Bible is the authority to govern every aspect of our existence - in our home, business, social affairs, and in every thought and action.
Spiritual rules lead us in the paths of righteousness and equip us for joyful and victorious living. Every page of the textbook, Science and Health, contains rules and clear instruction that God is All and supreme, the creator of good. We can trust these rules in facing and defeating disharmony.
Some may think there's no exit from suffering. But there is an exit. My husband with glaucoma and my friend with the vertebra problem made the exit from suffering through glimpsing the supremacy of God and the nothingness of evil.
They applied this truth to their situation - realized it, felt its power - and were healed.
Remember the recovered handbag? In that case, as with the physical healings, the foundation of fear and distrust was annihilated by expressing the Mind of Christ - the divine Mind - by knowing that God is constantly caring for us. These cases were healed by a perfect remedy, the law of divine Principle, Love, which destroys the ungodly beliefs of distrust and limitation.
When you and I trust in God supremely, we're compelled to give up old concepts of ourselves and surrender to God's will and His government. For whatever is of God is everlasting. Mrs. Eddy writes: ". . . Trust in Truth, and have no other trusts" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, "p. 171).
Help in achieving a fulfilling life
As we all know, every individual desires a fulfilling life and Christian Science helps us achieve this objective.
"In God We Trust" - what a powerful, profound motto! Your eternal life and mine is found through a firm and absolute trust in God. This triumphant trust empowers us to receive our God-given blessings of freedom and health. Who wouldn't like these? This trust is established and maintained by God, by the law of divine Love. Will you trust Him who is all good? Let's trust God and live victoriously.