Oh no! What if we’re late to the airport?! It was just one in a series of “oh nos” that had crossed my mind recently. I didn’t want my friend to miss her flight! As often happens though, all that “oh no-ing” wasn’t necessary. Even with the traffic, we made it in plenty of time.
Sometimes solutions to world events, or problems in our own lives, seem impossible. Our racing thoughts can sound like this: Oh no! What if we never see world peace?! Oh no! What about the U.S. Presidential Race? Oh no! I’ll never get this project finished for work! OH NO!
We can either indulge in the “oh nos” or find a better solution. But, how?
The book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament can give us some clues. Even though he lived thousands of years ago, I can see parallels between Nehemiah’s life and ours. He didn’t let a few “oh nos” distract him from his work, and we don’t have to either. Whether you’re familiar with his story or not, it’s a great one to look into.
If it were a play, the first scene would open with the Jewish man receiving word that Jerusalem, the city of his ancestors, is in ruins. OH NO!
But, Nehemiah is used to praying about problems, so he takes his sadness to God. He pours out his heart, acknowledges God’s power and mercy, and trusts God with his next steps.
In the same way, when we have a problem—no matter if it’s a daunting world issue or something worrisome in our own house—we can begin by quieting our fears, or “oh nos.” In this mental stillness we can ask God, divine Love, to help us find just the right solution. Psalm 138 includes a comforting fact: “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me” (verse 8).
Yes, if it concerns you, God’s already on it. As God told the prophet Isaiah, “before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). Similarly, Mary Baker Eddy said, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494).
The next scene in the story documents divine Love’s answer to Nehemiah’s prayer. It takes place in the palace of the King of Persia, Artaxerxes; Nehemiah is his cupbearer. This particular day, Nehemiah is preoccupied with thinking about Jerusalem’s ruined walls and burned down gates. The perceptive king asks him what’s wrong. Nehemiah worries: What if he doesn’t understand?! OH NO!
But, he takes a deep breath, trusts his prayer to God, listens for God’s direction, and tells the king everything. King Artaxerxes not only gives Nehemiah permission to go to Jerusalem to fix the walls and gates, but offers him timber from the royal forests and letters of protection to take with him on his journey. Nehemiah gets the go-ahead for this great project and thanks God for answering his prayer.
In the study of Christian Science, another name for God is Mind. Every right idea is supplied by divine Mind. We know the right answer because God has equipped us with intelligence to solve any problem that presents itself to us. Even the smallest detail is covered.
The rest of the story has Nehemiah finding the manpower, supplies, and courage to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. Over and over Nehemiah’s enemies, who lived in close proximity to the building project, tried everything to thwart his efforts. They mocked Nehemiah and made up lies about him. OH NO!
But, knowing that the project was provided for by God, Nehemiah and his workers continued on without delay or distraction. At one point, they were working with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. Now, that’s determination!
Sometimes when we’re doing our best work, things try to get in our way, too. Our distractions might be an envious co-worker who misrepresents us to our boss; financial difficulties that threaten to delay things; or even worries that we don’t have what it takes to live up to our full potential. OH NO!
But God, being good itself, always has our back. We stick with the ideas from God and keep pushing forward knowing that whatever is backed by Him is complete in every way and is successful up to the very last detail of the work. This fact is our weapon. It can take down any obstacle that would keep us from witnessing all of the good that is present in us, in others, and in the project itself.
Ironically, one of the last tricks by Nehemiah’s enemies is an invitation to meet them in the plain of Ono. If you were invited to distraction and harm in the plain of OH NO! would you fall for it? Of course not, and neither did Nehemiah. He declined the invitation and finished the last detail of the work—putting up the gates.
So, the next time you find yourself taken in by the “oh nos” remember Nehemiah. God was right there to offer solutions for him and his people centuries ago, and the same divine Love is right here today to meet your needs. Circumstances and characters may change, but the constancy of divine Love’s help and divine Mind’s answers are ever-present and universal throughout eternity.
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!