IT IS written in the Law, — “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity”.
You have had your opportunity to make a success of your life, — and perhaps still find yourself outside the City Beautiful with no oil in your lamps. And finally you come to the place where you can neither beg, borrow nor steal the “oil” to produce your light when the Bridegroom passes by.
Still the old human thought will make another effort. Like a beetle in a slippery bowl, he will try again and again to extricate himself from the difficulty he has fallen into. No problem ever came to you that was not first accepted by you as propelled by some false law. This you are sure is not true, and you will trace a thousand and one forgotten trails, endeavoring to find the cause of it, — rejecting the only true one: You are where you are because of your self.
It isn’t a very mellifluous doctrine. It is bitter, but it is therapeutic when once you see it. If you place the blame where it belongs, you have one foot out of the bog. Then finding the nothingness of the belief which is occupying your temple, you are out. When you discover what the Truth is, you will see the reality of the command, — “Know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free”. But this, too, has been a stumbling block for ages, since the puzzling question goes on, “What is the Truth?”.
Only one Man answered that, but not many will accept it, — “I AM the Truth!” You are the truth about everything in your life, — good, bad or indifferent. Only that which you recognize as Truth in any capacity can exist for you. You may find truth in disease and poverty, and so to you it is true.
Many things are true that are not facts. Until a thing becomes established as a fact, it is of little use to you. For instance, you know that prayer heals the sick, and that is true, — but it is not a fact until you have set it into action in your diseased body and have seen the manifestation of it in perfect health. And so with wealth and happiness.
“I came that your joy might be FULL!”—not partially full, but FULL, — not the honey which is so tempting and sweet but in which has been mixed the bitter aloes of human experience. No, — but pure unadulterated JOY. The human mind cannot conceive of JOY as a continuous fare. It imagines that it must have a certain amount of the bitter so that the contrast will make the sweet sweeter. This human mind has such stereotyped limitations that it is of little use to psychologize it into imagining a state of freedom.
We acknowledge Jesus as the Way-Shower, and then proceed to find our own belief—paths. Then it is that we must be ever watchful of Scylla, that many-headed monster with its long necks reaching out to destroy anything within its reach by evil gossip and slander. And in steering a well-defined course to escape her, we may run into the whirlpool Charybdis, — that futile, disheartening teaching of the man whose breath is in his nostrils, and be sucked under, into a place of utter frustration, finally to be grounded on the Isle of the Enchantress Circe, — always calling on God, endeavoring to bend His ways and laws to fit our desires and needs.
“How long will ye doubt” that Jesus gave us a Law so fool-proof and powerful that it would “bear us up as if on eagles’ wings”?
Only when man reaches the extremity of trying, will he “let go and LET God”. “MY Ways are not YOUR Ways”, — they are said to be as far above anything the think-man can conceive as the “heavens are above the earth”.
Such an apparently nonsensical question as “For why will ye die?” is answered from the standpoint of LIFE. Nothing dies in God, — only in the human thought induced by the father-Adam. Life, when accepted as OMNIPRESENT, causes man to manifest health, and the desert to blossom as a rose, and a thousand and one other things. All this for the recognition of God!
The world is full of people seeking ME in something physical, some man-made teaching, or through some set of labors which makes Hercules’ tasks look like child-play.
The idea of man’s extremity is well illustrated by an incident of some years ago. A young boy lived in a small town through which ran a deep ravine, bridged by a single-track trestle. In the course of events he left home, as most small-town boys do,returning some years later on a surprise visit. He arrived late at night, and having no conveyance, decided to walk home by the short-cut across the ravine. Midway across, he suddenly looked up to see a train coming. He could neither turn back nor go ahead, the distances being too great, — so he let himself down over the side of the trestle, there to hang until the train passed by. By the time the train had gone, he did not have sufficient strength to pull himself up again. Remembering the jagged rocks below, a horrible fear paralyzed him, and his strength gave out completely. His fingers slipped free of the tie and he dropped, expecting to be dashed to pieces on the rocks below, — only to find to his amazement that he landed on soft earth about five feet below the bridge. During his absence, the ravine had been filled in. All his harrowing agony for naught !
Jesus taught in parables, and the “letting go” He requires of you when you have come to your extremity brings the surprise facts to light. The ravine of your fear and belief has been “filled in” with the LOVE of God !
A thousand invitations are given you to “cast your burdens on Him”. You are invited to “take up your cross”, — that power which X’ed out all the belief of the life of “Jesus”. He said, “In this world ye have tribulations”, and then immediately said, “This is the Kingdom of Heaven”. This seems a contradiction, but He also told you how to escape the tribulation, — “Be in the world but not of`it”. This does not mean a retiring into the seclusion of the hills, — but it does mean a retiring from the beliefs of today which tomorrow will be cast into the oven because the human mind ceases to believe in them.
Whatever you, — yes, YOU, accept, will come to abide with you as realities, — and what you reject through the Light of your Christ Consciousness will pass you by. At best, they will turn out to be “clouds without rain”.
Yes, man’s extremity IS God’s opportunity. You remember the poem about opportunity passing but once, and if you are asleep, you are bidden to awake, for it will not pass that way again. And you have tried your opportunity with small success, but there was always some “fly in the ointment”, or “little gnats that spoiled the honey”. Then why not see what God will do with His opportunity? Be un-afraid to walk through the shadows of beliefs about you and give Him a chance.
“Wait patiently on the Lord and He WILL bring IT to pass.” What means this “it”, if not the desire you have tried so hard and long to bring into visibility. But remember that the dust of the disintegration of your extremity must settle before you can see the SUN that is emerging through the cyclone of belief.
“Wait patiently on the Lord and He WILL bring IT to pass”. It says “will” so there can be no question about the results. Now you are not afraid of being found “naked”. What a thrill is awaiting you when you come to the place where you will “stand upon your watch and SEE what the Lord has to say unto the temple-bodies”.
None of this can be accomplished through the human reason which demands proof of the answer. “The signs follow, — they do not precede” is too much for his fearful thought, — and so another cycle passes by. The Wheel of Life turns over once more and instead of letting go, you have hung on to it and are being crushed with further evil.
But this “letting” God have His opportunity is like coming in from the blistering heat of the desert, — like suddenly discovering an oasis with cool shade and bubbling spring.
“Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity!” It would seem, then, if you are surfeited with your “extremity”, it is about time to “let” something happen, the something which you could not make happen. Or if you are not yet at your extremity, why not get there as quickly as possible, so that this golden flood of NEW LIGHT and REVELATION will be yours.
The complete submission to the ways of God leads to the Perfect WAY and brings out the true meaning of “I AM the WAY”. It is only at this elevation that the laws which Jesus gave can be and are made manifest as realities. It is then that WHATSOEVER you designate the I AM to be, YOU ARE. The urge of this designation is coming through, straight from the God of the Universe, guiding you into the things that have been prepared for you and which have never entered into the heart of man.
So often this submission carries with it the false belief of a complete giving up of everything the heart has longed for and the leading of a desolatory, lonely life. This is the human concept. And yet in spite of this belief, man goes on eternally seeking God. Why for? If “things” are the ultimate, why continue to seek God? Why not find Him in money instead of substance, if you believe that money is a greater power than God. If you feel that evil is more certain and powerful than God, it would be well to worship the devil, — or would it?
Why will we stand in the Temple and say with our lips, “God is the only Power”, — and at the same time consider the evil power that apparently has us in its grasp?
You cannot legislate, nor yet control the human love. It goes where it will without rhyme or reason, — nothing can be done about it. Then why imagine that by the use of words or beliefs you can direct or control the LOVE of God?
Yes, — “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and incidentally, your opportunity, — -the only real one you ever had. The opportunity to have all the senses extended beyond the human belief, — to have eyes that SEE and ears that HEAR, — to have a clear, limpid consciousness of the Truth of Life and an ability to SEE through the veils of human thought. “I saw you under the fig tree” is not a capacity to tell fortunes, — but an ability to see all that is essential. So often man comes under the category of “what you ARE screams so loud I cannot hear what you are saying”.
If God cannot do it, then it cannot be done. That should just about settle it. Then, why in Heaven’s Name not LET Him do something. Give Him His opportunity, as you have given yourself so many opportunities which have all failed. Why not come to your extremity NOW.
Walter C. Lanyon