Power of the Right Idea

From the Christian Science Sentinel, February 3, 1923 by

On page 22 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the textbook of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy writes: “Wait for your reward, and ‘be not weary in well doing.’ If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race. When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done, and receive according to your deserving.” It is the impulsion of the right idea working in human affairs that brings success to one’s efforts. When the motive is pure, divine Love provides the means to put it into action. Mere human planning cannot carry a good purpose to fulfillment. Forever perfect in divine Mind, the right idea unfolds in a divinely natural way, correcting, uplifting, and protecting. As mankind learns to abide by this understanding, the ill effects of impatience, fear, and discouragement will disappear. Numbers of instances are to be found in the Scriptures of those God-fearing men who persisted in holding their thought above the seemingly reasonable arguments of discouragement and fear, patiently and faithfully following the right idea to success.

Moses, reared amid the luxury of the Egyptian court, never lost his identity as an Israelite, as one of God’s chosen people. In the midst of gross materialism and oppression he manifested the divine idea. From birth he was preserved from the human hatred of good, for a divine purpose to be revealed in due time. As he grew and observed the condition of his people in slavery, his divine mission began to dawn upon his thought. He was to free from bondage this people, who alone worshiped the one God. But the wisdom and patience needful to balance his zeal and ambition were as yet undeveloped and untried; for at one time, seeing one of his race mistreated by an Egyptian taskmaster, he slew the Egyptian. It seemed to Moses necessary to flee into the wilderness to save himself from the wrath of Pharaoh. Here, in the obscurity and solitude of the mountains, he tended sheep for his father-in-law for forty years—a humble position for one reared as he had been. Meantime his thought was being prepared for the great work before him. Never, during these years of trial and purification, was he allowed to lose sight of the right idea it was his mission to demonstrate. He learned the value and power of humility and patience; for he who understands somewhat of the nature of God is humble in the consciousness of His omniscience, and patient in the realization of His omnipresence and omnipotence. Yet, when at last the call came for him to go forward, the human thought quailed before the stupendous nature of the task, momentarily forgetful that “the battle is the Lord’s.” Evil suggested many excuses, among them: “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?” “I am not eloquent, . . . but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” These suggestion, however, were in turn met and mastered by that right idea which from the first had saved Moses for the purpose of freeing God’s people from pagan domination.

Moses’ experiences in Egypt on his return, the numerous apparently unsuccessful efforts to obtain favor from Pharaoh,—each effort, however, weakening the seeming strength of evil, his many struggles with his people in order to convince them that their leaving Egypt was right, the forty years of struggle in the wilderness with perverseness, disloyalty, ingratitude, ignorance,—all this is too familiar to need a more detailed description. But through it all, the divine idea—the reflection of God—persisted in the understanding of Moses, to guide the people to prosperity and peace. There were times, it is true, when this idea was obscured by the smoke of battle; times when fear and discouragement temporarily so blinded Moses to the permanence of divine Love’s presence and protection, that he became impatient at the waywardness of the people,—but never was there a lack of divine support.

Think what it was Moses was doing! Has any general before or since accomplished such a task? Without human aid he faced and defied the autocrat of Egypt, and led out of slavery a horde of untrained men, women, and children, numbering a possible million, with no more preparation than could be made overnight by them! On page 200 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy sums up the mighty achievements of this humble, patient, God-inspired patriarch in these words: “Moses advanced a nation to the worship of God in Spirit instead of matter, and illustrated the grand human capacities of being bestowed by immortal Mind.”

Surely we to-day may take heart and rise above the subtle suggestions of error, which argue fear and discouragement and the futility of our battle with evil suggestions, constantly assuming, to mortal belief, new forms. God and His idea, man,—His image and likeness,—are all that is real, never touched or affected in the least by the seeming mortal strife and struggle. Holding thought steadfastly to the true likeness, we abide in the harmony of divine Love. As Isaiah sang, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”