Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #21
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on May 20, 1975
In these essays we refer frequently to the power of thinking, the sort of thinking which, if persevered in and practiced, can overcome any difficulty. This kind of thinking has a magic all of its own. It is faith-thinking. I love those words of Jesus: “If ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea,’ and it shall be done.” That may at first reading seem like fantasy or even poppycock—but it is unblemished truth.
Recently I drove from Sacramento, California, into the High Sierras up to Lake Tahoe. These mountains are more rugged than those we have in the East; with their jagged peaks and rushing streams and pine covered slopes they are quite awe-inspiring. In Squaw Valley I ran into a most impressive blizzard and took some of the most beautiful snow pictures I own. The trip was so fascinating that it was not until returning through mountain passes that I realized that, through the feat of modern engineering techniques and the vision and faith of highway engineers and planners, Jesus’ Biblical promise had been fulfilled. In just a few hours I had driven through the very area which spelled death to pioneers of the early West. The mountain which had trapped the fated Donner party all those years ago had been moved.
This thing called faith has been much misunderstood. The Anglo-Saxon root from which we derive the word means “to live by”. Faith is not a theory that we hold to but a power that holds us. It is a level of thinking by which we actually become a part of the all-accomplishing infinite mind of God. On this level our mental capacity is expanded somewhat as sunlight unfolds a flower into full bloom—capacities hitherto undreamed of are released, and the way is open to confidence, creativity, and success.
A little child once said, “Faith is believing what ain’t so.” This is not exactly so. Faith is a willingness to work in the dark; to walk a trail that the heart can see but the eye cannot. It is knowing that there is an ocean because you have seen a brook, that there is a Universe because you have seen a star, that there is a Father of all mankind because you have seen a man.
Faith gathers up your life, pulls it together, places foundations under it, indicates horizons around it, and points it toward goals that are definite and worthwhile. George Santayana gave us these classic words:
“O world, thou chooseth not the better part!
It is not wisdom to be only wise,
And on the inward vision close the eyes;
But it is wisdom to believe the heart.
Columbus found a world, and had no chart
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies;
To trust the soul’s invincible surmise
Was all his science and his only art.
Our knowledge is a torch of smoky pine
That lights the pathway to but one step ahead
Across a void of mystery and dread.
Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine
By which alone the mortal heart is led
Unto the thinking of the thought divine.”
Faith is an acceptance of the greatness of God. Now, we do not make God great by our faith in Him, but we become great by accepting His cosmic greatness, and lifting ourselves to a level of consciousness of thinking in which we act from strength instead of weakness, in which we see possibilities instead of problems.
You do not receive what you want or even what you pray for—you receive what you expect .
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if everything you tried or reached for turned out in fulfillment of your expectations? It would be little different from the way it is now, since most of us expect so little! Most of us go through life holding a small tin cup into the Niagara of God’s plenty. We have a “small fry” expectancy. This manifests as a string-saving, make-do, can’t afford it consciousness. It is marginal living at best. We prepare for problems and are rarely disappointed. We are in tune with the indefinite instead of the infinite; we are practicing the absence instead of the presence of God.
Faith is a perception that is born of intuition. The world will always give you tuition, but you must take time to cultivate intuition. There will appear to be limits: you are too old, to young, there is too little time, not enough money...but intuition will always reveal a way, a means, a magic solution to the seemingly impossible. Fact-thinking may reveal many closed doors, but faith-thinking shows us where the keys are. Fact-thinking reveals empty vessels; faith-thinking reveals upturned receptacles waiting to be filled by divine action. We are taught, “My God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches.”
How often we hold others back by our fact-thinking! “When he is late, he is always out drinking”; “He just doesn’t have the intelligence to get ahead”; “There’s not much hope for employment for a man his age”. Take the other view and you can become a transforming and uplifting influence on all around you by seeing the good.
If you genuinely want to help someone, let your faith reach out to them. Believe in them, love them, and let them know it. Easterners greet one another with “Nama-skar”—”I salute the divinity in you”. When that kind of faith gets into your consciousness, it works miracles of overcoming.
Once the Ralph Edwards program, “This Is Your Life”, depicted an account of the actress Marjorie Rambeau, who had been in an accident after which she was told by her doctors that she would never walk again. She had been playing roles on television which showed her seated; finally she was able to stand, but not to walk. At this time she was called in to play a role in the production of “A Man Called Peter”, the life story of Peter Marshall, and was to sit in the front pew of the church.
She was directed to stand with the congregation, after which the camera would pan away as the rest of the actors walked out of the church. One of Peter Marshall’s stirring sermons was being delivered by the actor: “If you believe and if you get that faith into your heart and mind and if you step out on that faith, you can do amazing things.” Suddenly and without explanation. Miss Rambeau forgot that she was acting. She heard only the message and was thinking on the level of infinite mind. The receptacle she had created was filled by the Spirit, and when the time came for the congregation to rise and walk out, she walked with them. An alert cameraman, amazed and excited though he was, caught the miracle on film. The entire cast felt something strange, dynamic and wonderful happening as this woman made her way, haltingly by surely, down the aisle. She continued to stand and walk—the magic of faith-thinking had enabled her to break through the block of physical incapacity.
What is the great desire of your heart? Think about it; what would you like to do more than anything else? Create a vacuum for the Spirit to rush in; create a receptacle; reach out to your desire; form a picture of it in your mind, a picture not of emptiness but of possibility. It will be an attracting force to draw your desire to you. See it as already accomplished, yourself as doing that which you would like to do. Believe and let that believing consciousness go out ahead of you and lead the way. Amazing things will happen, whether or not a miracle takes place in terms of a demonstration immediately. The important thing is that you
will be different. You will see differently, something will unfold in your life making the whole process of faith a reality to you.
As George Santayana wrote, “Think that thought divine.” Think large, think broad, think big, think good, and let this faith-consciousness become a whole way of thinking. Faith-thinking will lead you into the greatness of life that you envision for yourself.”
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth