What To Do About It All
When Things Go Wrong, Chapter 8
by Harry McMullan, III
"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God." This river is Father's will, and it flows out to all who are willing to receive the water of life. Life has no meaning apart from a relationship with God. The goods and thrills of a vainglorious generation are spiritually meaningless, failing to satisfy the deepest and truest reality in the human heart. Father longs for his children to be with him and live in his love. To so live requires only that we seek him with a whole heart and abandon those things which stand between us and the kingdom of life, health, and happiness.
The problems addressed in this booklet are like a series of exam questions which all have the same two answers. There is no emotional or spiritual problem which cannot be resolved by intimately sharing our lives with God and enjoying meaningful companionship with our fellows. Loneliness, isolation, doubt, confusion, guilt, discouragement, defeat, impatience, stagnation, and fear are each readily vanquished by that Power which created the world.
Except for the operation of higher laws, the facts of material existence must simply be accepted. Prayer alone cannot heal, but it can open up a vision of spiritual healing which connects with unlimitable faith, wherein we accept Father's solution to every one of our problems, big and small, and wherein even tragedies work for good.
When we come before our Father we experience peace which passes all understanding. The difficulties and tragedies of life do not cease to occur, but we learn that he passes through all of them with us. In partnership with God we take on new courage; we gain insight into the wholeness of events; we begin to see things through his eyes. We are glad to experience life in all its vicissitudes, knowing that Father put us here for this short but intense test, and that eternal life awaits on the other side, where material difficulties will no longer loom so large. We are invigorated by the vision of being part of a greater whole where righteousness and beauty reign. We see this sin-darkened sphere as a training ground which God has made holy and sacred. We see Father in the glance of a passing friend, and learn to love others as he loves us.
As we find our Father and share our lives with him, his energy renews us hour by hour. He takes us to a high plain from which we look down over the breadth of life's problems, and there!-off in the distance, we see the shining city of our dreams. His power commingles within us, and we see ourselves as part of a larger effort, wherein all the sons and daughters of God work together for the advancement of the greater whole, helping speed the day when this world becomes the place he intends it to be.
Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received your orders to advance, do not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, do not be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, do not falter and question your status and standing, for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying, "This is the way." (34:7.8)
[L]earn to suffer less through sorrow and disappointment, first, by making fewer personal plans concerning other personalities, and then, by accepting your lot when you have faithfully performed your duty. (48:6.25)
Do not be so slothful as to ask God to solve your difficulties, but never hesitate to ask him for wisdom and spiritual strength to guide and sustain you while you yourself resolutely and courageously attack the problems at hand. (91:6.5)
If you would engage in effective praying, you should bear in mind the laws of prevailing petitions:
1. You must qualify as a potent prayer by sincerely and courageously facing the problems of universe reality. You must possess cosmic stamina.
2. You must have honestly exhausted the human capacity for human adjustment. You must have been industrious.
3. You must surrender every wish of mind and every craving of soul to the transforming embrace of spiritual growth. You must have experienced an enhancement of meanings and an elevation of values.b
4. You must make a wholehearted choice of the divine will. You must obliterate the dead center of indecision.
5. You not only recognize the Father's will and choose to do it, but you have effected an unqualified consecration, and a dynamic dedication, to the actual doing of the Father's will.
6. Your prayer will be directed exclusively for divine wisdom to solve the specific human problems encountered in the Paradise ascension-the attainment of divine perfection.
7. And you must have faith-living faith. (91:9.1-8)
It had always been Jesus' practice, when facing any new or serious decisions, to withdraw for communion with his own spirit that he might seek to know the will of God. (136:4.8)
"In the coming kingdom, be not mindful of those things which foster your anxiety but rather at all times concern yourselves only with doing the will of the Father who is in heaven." (137:1.6)
When Jesus had listened to the apostolic chief relate his troubles, he said: "Andrew, you cannot talk men out of their perplexities when they reach such a stage of involvement, and when so many persons with strong feelings are concerned. I cannot do what you ask of me-I will not participate in these personal social difficulties-but I will join you in the enjoyment of a three-day period of rest and relaxation. Go to your brethren and announce that all of you are to go with me up on Mount Sartaba, where I desire to rest for a day or two. . .
This was a marvelous occasion in the experience of each of them; they never forgot the day going up the mountain. Throughout the entire trip hardly a word was said about their troubles. Upon reaching the top of the mountain, Jesus seated them about him while he said: "My brethren, you must all learn the value of rest and the efficacy of relaxation. You must realize that the best method of solving some entangled problems is to forsake them for a time. Then when you go back fresh from your rest or worship, you are able to attack your troubles with a clearer head and a steadier hand, not to mention a more resolute heart. Again, many times your problem is found to have shrunk in size and proportions while you have been resting your mind and body." . . .
The third day when they started down the mountain and back to their camp, a great change had come over them. They had made the important discovery that many human perplexities are in reality nonexistent, that many pressing troubles are the creations of exaggerated fear and the offspring of augmented apprehension. They had learned that all such perplexities are best handled by being forsaken; by going off they had left such problems to solve themselves. (143:3.1-6)
"But when you pray, you exercise so little faith. Genuine faith will remove mountains of material difficulty which may chance to lie in the path of soul expansion and spiritual progress." (144:2.6)
Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come; your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our bread for tomorrow;
Refresh our souls with the water of life.
And forgive us every one our debts
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
Save us in temptation, deliver us from evil,
And increasingly make us perfect like yourself. (144:3.3)
"To you and to all who shall follow in your steps down through the ages, let me say: I always stand near, and my invitation-call is, and ever shall be, Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am true and loyal, and you shall find spiritual rest for your souls."
And they found the Master's words to be true when they put his promises to the test. And since that day countless thousands also have tested and proved the surety of these same promises. (163:6.7-8)