by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
In the opening scene of the movie City of Angels, heart surgeon Maggie does everything she can to save her patient’s life, only to “lose” him. She is devastated by this occurrence since she did “everything right.” But in the surgery and in her devastation, she was never alone, for an angel named Seth was there. He was actually there for the patient who was to die, but in the process, he “touched” Maggie’s life and helped her to begin to question her own “strength” and to think that perhaps there was a power greater than herself at work in life.
This is the thrust of workbook lesson 42 from A Course in Miracles, which has been our thought in the Center’s Prayer Ministry for the month of September. We often do not feel God’s strength or vision in our lives because we think we are in control. And yet, whether we are aware of it or not, He is with us and all around us, much like the angels in City of Angels. Just as the Course tells us angels are the thoughts of God in our mind, this movie’s angels help people by touching their minds so they feel God’s peace. Embracing this workbook lesson’s ideas is much like allowing God’s thoughts (angels) to finally “touch” us.
This lesson combines two very powerful thoughts and sets forth the cause-and-effect relationship that explains why you cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the Course’s goal of healing your thoughts of separation.
You will see because it is the Will of God. It is His strength, not your own, that gives you power. And it is His
gift, rather than your own, that offers vision to you.
God is the cause. His Will and His strength are the power in your life, not your own. And, because He is the cause and we are the effect, we already have the gift of vision that He offers us. Of this, there is no doubt.
God is indeed your strength, and what He gives is truly given. This means that you can receive it any time and anywhere, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.
Most of us want this type of “knowing.” We want to feel that we are protected and secure, and this lesson is trying to help us logically understand that these gifts are ours because it is God’s Will for us. It explains to us the reasons we feel vulnerable: we think we run things ourselves, which is why we feel alone and helpless. We feel we must rely on our own “strength,” which is exhausting. Alternatively, the reason we can feel God’s strength is because it is not of us, but it is in us. We are God’s effect; therefore, we can only create in like fashion: from strength, clarity, and love. Because of this truth, we cannot fail. This lesson offers us the way to experience all of this through the gift of His vision.
We have all experienced God’s vision, whether we are aware of it or not. Have you ever felt a sense of peace (perhaps fleeting) in the midst of conflict? Or a sense that things will be all right? Have you ever had a thought pop into your mind that fits the need you or another had, but you had no idea where it came from? Have you ever felt a connection with another person, a living thing, or a place such as the ocean or mountains? Have you ever had a deep inner knowing about something, someone, or yourself? That’s God’s Vision. Those are the thoughts of God that are your strength because they show you how interconnected you are, and you can receive them anywhere and at any time. In essence, the Course equates those interconnecting thoughts like angels that surround us always.
In City of Angels, Maggie tells Seth that she doesn’t believe in angels, to which he replies, “Some things are true whether you believe in them or not.” Such is the case with this workbook lesson. God’s strength is yours, and so is His gift of vision. Your lack of belief does not diminish this truth, but it does cause you to not benefit from it. This lesson helps you to benefit from God’s strength and vision by allowing you to open your mind to it by affirming:
Vision must be possible. God gives truly.
God’s gifts to me must be mine, because He gave them to me.
God is my strength. Vision is His gift.
The lesson then invites you to allow other related thoughts to enter your mind and to do this as often as you can during the day as a reminder “that the goal of this course is important to you, and that you have not forgotten it.”
The truth and power of this lesson can only help you, for it is a reminder that your mind is truly joined with God. God wants to help you in every situation to experience His gift of vision, a gift that will help you to experience His strength and knowledge. Just as the “touch” of the angels helped the characters in City of Angels experience peace, so too does this lesson “touch” our minds to open them up to the fact that “God is your strength. Vision is His gift.”
Above quotations from A Course in Miracles lesson 42