God is my strength. Vision is his gift.
This lesson contains in one succinct application (or a pair of applications, really) two of my favorite – and to my mind, critical – ideas about A Course in Miracles. First, it’s not my strength that gets anything meaningful done. Second, vision – my right mind, the Holy Spirit, a connection to Jesus – are gifts, not rewards.
I want to look at both ideas, even though anything I say about them is basically a rehash of what I’ve said in many previous posts.
We have been exploring the important idea lately that the separation – the split with God from which all my seeming problems spring – never happened. Indeed, Lesson 41 – God goes with me wherever I go – basically states that there is no division between what God is and what we are. Accepting the fact that “he” is with us in all circumstances without exception is really just another way of saying that we are in truth is what God is. Part of God cannot leave God. So the separation never happened. Lesson 41 promises us that acceptance of this idea “will overcome completely the sense of loss and abandonment all the separated ones experience (W-pI.41.1:1).
Lesson 42 is another way of saying the same thing. Few people have trouble with the idea that God – however we define God – is all-powerful. If we are one with God – if our union with God is indivisible and intact – then we, too, are all-powerful. The strength that we associate with God is our strength. So we are not only reaffirming that the separation never happened, we are now accepting a major benefit of that truth.
The other idea in this lesson is that vision is a gift. Moreover, it was already given. The tense here matters. We are not sinners desperately and frantically trying to make amends for our horrible deeds in hopes that we will gain Heaven. God does not operate that way. We didn’t do anything. Really, in A Course in Miracles, we can’t say that enough. We are not being punished and we are not being asked to “atone” for wrongdoings.
All that “happened” was that we accept as true a thought that was false. That’s it. And all that matters to God – all that God knows – is that we’re not with him now. He wants us back. Vision – which restores us to our right minds which in turns facilitates the transformation to one-mindedness – was delivered the instant we considered the separation as a real possibility. The solution is in our minds as is the problem. And all we have to do is recognize it. That’s it. Salvation isn’t something that comes after a long and arduous discipleship in which we prove our merit and love. It’s part of who and what we naturally are.
There is great comfort in both those ideas. If we can get the egoic self to stand down a little, we can realize that there is nothing to do. Salvation is not a matter of great effort. It’s not an accomplishment. The hard part is realizing that. Because when we do – when we do accept God’s strength as the functional equivalent of our strength – then we will simultaneously realize that we are possessed of Christ-like vision.
The game is over and we won. All we have to do is remember the victory.