1955 Johannesburg Closed Class
Joel S Goldsmith
The Inner Meaning
It is in this same way that we are taught in the message of The Infinite Way, to meet every situation in our experience with some spiritual, possibly scriptural passage. In this wise: supposing we have something to do tomorrow, something that at first thought looks like a hard job, or even something beyond us, too difficult, requiring too much of us. We are taught to turn within for some spiritual or scriptural passage that will help us meet that situation and usually it will be something like He performeth that which is given me to do, or He perfecteth that which concerneth me. And then, with that assurance, we are able to drop our responsibility because there again we have admitted He, we have admitted God or the Christ into our experience.
Or, supposing we are facing some situation where more is demanded of us than we believe we have. Probably more money than we think we have or can afford, or something requiring more strength than we believe that we have, or something requiring more patience or more kindness or more tolerance or more forgiveness. At least something more is going to be demanded of us than we feel confident that we have. And so we can turn to another Bible passage and remember Thy grace is my sufficiency. And so I will meet this situation, not with money or with muscles or with strength or with advice, but with Thy grace.
So the secret of spiritual living actually consists in our ability to attain this constant conscious presence, or the consciousness of this invisible presence, until it becomes so alive, so real in us that it is as real as our right hand. It is as real to us as our checkbook or pocket book. It is as real to us as anything in the physical realm. Those who attain this realization always have the awareness of an abiding presence. It appears in different ways so that each one realizes it in some different way, but always there is an assurance that there is something more here in this chair than just me. And that something else is this invisible power, if you call it that, presence if you call it that, the Christ, the Spirit of God, the Comforter. And you can’t have it and not know it. It always makes itself known. But you prepare the way for its entrance and you prepare the way for its operation in your experience through this daily practice in every single way.
Q: Now, whilst appreciating that we do not take a problem into prayer, are we not ever to sit quietly and seek a solution all round the problem on the human level too?
A: Well now, to see there, there are two different subjects there. If we have a problem and we are now turning to God, we cannot turn to God and say, “Where will I get a bank loan?” or “Should I get out of business or stay in business?” That is kind of making a human counselor out of the divine spirit. So at that stage of our experience, when we are turning for spiritual guidance, even though it is a problem concerning business or finances or sales or invention or manufacture or family – even though it is that, we are now going to sit back and turn from that problem. And we’re going to open our consciousness specifically for a realization of God’s presence, of the Christ.
The problem may try to intrude itself into our thought, and we’ll have to talk back to it. “Get thee behind me, Satan! I’m not interested in you. My function now is to realize God’s presence.” And you will achieve it; you will come to the realization of God’s presence. Whether you do it the first time you try it is not the criterion. If you practice it, you eventually will attain the ability to sit down and come into actual realization of the presence of God.
Now, you will find that when you have that, you will either, very quickly see the solution to your problem, or you will be led to go to a ball game or, if its night to go to bed. And if the latter, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, and the solution will be as plain as if it were written on your ceiling. Or you may turn it away, throw it out of your mind, and then in a moment that ye know not, the answer will flash right back in. Or, you will sit down quietly with pen and pencil and you’ll just start writing and figuring and thinking about your problem – not with concern or anxiety but to let the solution flow, that now will flow not from you, not from your understanding, but from this contact that you have made with the divine.
Certainly, we do not sit on cloud nine and deny that we have a human experience. Nor do we try to avoid it or to evade it, but we try not to tackle it until we have the realization of God as our partner in the deal. Is that clear? Now, you see there is no escapism to that, because we are not trying to avoid the issues of life, but we are trying not to tackle them until we are sure that we have the spirit of God working in us and through us and with us in all of our ways. Once you have the assurance that God is on the field, certainly then sit down and map out your advertising campaign or something else.
One of the things that we most frequently complained about in the old days of my experience in Christian Science was that we used to say, “Never go to a dentist who is a Christian Scientist. Never go to a lawyer who is a Christian Scientist. They’re always depending on God to do their work, and they just sit by and know the truth!” (Laughter) Now don’t go to the kind of a person who isn’t thorough in their business. Be sure that if they’re an attorney that they’re very thorough in looking up every phase of the work. And if they’re a dentist, be sure that it’s a dentist who isn’t depending on God to do his sanitation work for him or so forth.
Now, we with the spirit of God, are very thorough workmen. We leave nothing to chance. We leave nothing to just “Oh, trust God and He’ll do it.” We don’t have that kind of attitude. Our attitude is that before we undertake anything, we make sure that we have attained some realization of the presence of God. And then we sit down and do a thorough job of whatever it is we are doing. Yes, I remember back in those days that some of the ladies used to say they don’t want maids in their home who are Christian Scientists, because they do too much praying and too little dusting. (Laughter) Of course that wasn’t always true but there was just enough truth in it for those sayings to go around. Like the ones about the Model T Fords, you know?
But actually, when a person is spiritually endowed, when a person is touched by the spirit they become very thorough workmen. They leave nothing to chance. The spirit itself guides them to go to the right places for their information, to find the right people to help them. And nothing is left just to chance or, “Let God do it!” No, no, no! But before you undertake your work, whether it’s bridge-building I told this I think in London, I don’t think I’ve told you about it we have in California a Golden Gate bridge. Now, for I don’t know for how many generations it was known that a bridge across Golden Gate would be a very desirable thing. In fact, it solved many problems. But every bridge builder in the States tried to design a bridge across Golden Gate, and each one gave it up. Each one, in turn, said, “It’s an impossibility, it can’t be done!” And then along came a Mr Ellis and did it! And when he was asked, and he was often asked, “How, how did you find that solution to it?” His answer was, “I prayed. God gave me the answer.” But of course you will admit if you see that bridge that he prayed, but he was a thorough workman too!