God is the strength in which I trust.
In order to survive as bodies in the world, we need strength of various kinds. We need physical strength to move furniture, plant gardens, carry kids and knead bread. We need moral strength to call out evil. We need psychological strength to overcome internal bias and deception.
The body – which includes both a brain and a complex self-narrative – is bound up in its need to be strong and its inevitable failure to be strong enough. Joy and peace in the world are always temporary, always conditional, always unreliable.
This failure – from which we can gain only brief respite – is the ground on which Lesson 47’s promise of salvation is premised.
If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on (W-pI.47.1:1-3)?
That is a harsh judgment!
But we only need survey our lives – the sorrow, the loss, the fear, the guilt, the hatred, the unpredictability – to see that it is a judgement with merit.
Critically, the lesson is a reminder that we do not have a grip on the so-called big picture. By definition, the body is a limit, and so it is impossible for us to truly know the best outcome in any circumstance – for us or for anyone else. We can’t intuit the best outcome and, even if we could, we certainly can’t bring it forward in the world.
What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished (W-pI.47.1:4-5)?
In a sense, ego is simply the body’s insistence (through brain and self-narrative) that it can be aware in this way, and it can resolve any and all problems.
A Course in Miracles suggests we can experience the peace and joy that goes with “only good,” but that is in not our strength but God’s which accomplishes this.
God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice which speaks for Him think as he does (W-pI.47.3:1-4).
Thus, Lesson 47 becomes an exercise in allowing ourselves to remember this strength and avail ourselves of it. Indeed, it includes a call to go beyond the embodied self and its limitation altogether in order to reach the Kingdom of Heaven itself.
There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides (W-pI.47.7:4-6).
That is a beautiful promise!
And so the lesson is – as so many ACIM lessons are – both a cause for hope and joy and the means by which we remember, here and now, the peace that surpasses understanding.