I am so grateful for an image that came to mind this morning as I studied this week's Bible Lesson on Man. It was sparked by an idea in MyBibleLesson, which I subscribed to mostly to support this good tool for young students. This may have been worth the cost of this month's subscription just on its own!
There are two Bible stories in the lesson; the man sick of the palsy, the woman with the issue of blood. There is also a citation from Science and Health that refers to landmarks. (324:2-4). Here is the citation - "Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, - this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony." It was this idea of leaving false landmarks behind, along with an illustration from MyBibleLesson that started me thinking.
Imagine yourself driving down the interstate. As you go you come up on various exits. These are the landmarks I will be watching for in the Lesson and in my experience today. Applying that to the story of the man who was sick of the palsy, I picture him as a young man being helped by his friends who love him enough to overcome the huge crowd and get him next to the Master. They certainly had faith that he could be healed. We don't know what he had done that got him into that paralyzed state but it must have been pretty sinful. He seems to definitely taken that 'exit' that lead to this problem. Now Jesus is assuring him that his sins are forgiven. Maybe he had not even thought that was possible. He can choose to continue down that road or he can get back on the highway of righteousness (right thinking and acting) and move on with his life. Remember, he had not been able to move. He responds by rising up (spiritually as well as physically), takes up that very mat he had been restricted to, and best of all, goes home. He is now free to go home, forgiven. Can you not imagine how joyful that must have been! 'Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear'.
In the other story it is a physial challenge a woman has been dealing with, an issue blood for 12 years that she has been unable to cure despite all the exits she has tried and all the money she has spent. She turns down the road that leads to Jesus. What wonderful things she must have heard about his healings. She is so determined to get near him that she breaks a Jewish law prohibiting her from coming in contact with others in her condition. But she will not let that stop her and she gets her healing. Before she go on her way rejoicing, the Master calls her to him. It might not be in her best interest to believe that the healing came from touching his person. What would happen next time she needed healing and he was not around? So he makes sure she knows that is was her faith that made her whole and now she can go in peace, never fearing that the condition could return. Imagine how she walked away with 'gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear'!
So that is what I will be doing today, watching my thinking and actions so that I do not take a wrong exit and go down the road of impatience, identifying myself incorrectly, trusting in the material instead of the spiritual, ignoring opportunities to do something nice for someone else. As I make an effort with my daily progress I will heed Mrs. Eddy's admonition: "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds." (4:3-5)