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EBS53: The Long Way Home

Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #53

Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 21, 1975

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So often the question is asked, “Why, if God is a loving Father, does He permit His children to get into trouble? Why doesn’t He make them follow His law?” For one thing, individuality cannot be automatically produced. If God could have created man perfect in expression and still left him with the freedom of choice so that he could be a creative asset in the divine process, He certainly would have done so. But, in order for man to be truly free, he must have the opportunity of both becoming a saint or a devil, of being healthy or sick, of experiencing life or death. In the Bible, we read the stirring command, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.”

There are two fundamental philosophies of life: one that is lived from the outside in, and the other that is lived from the inside out. The idea that life is lived from the outside in is, in a way, materialism in which man is fighting for survival, reaching for success and achievements that are all out there in the world. He is a physical being at the mercy of the winds and storms of fact and circumstance, and any passing storm can cause trials and tribulations. But the other, living from within out, is sometimes called Practical Christianity. It is the concept that life is an unfoldment of inner potential. Each person brings his good into the world with him. Life is not a competition, but an individual experience of, as Browning says, “opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape.” In the one we seek desperately to find our good, and in the other we know that our need is to accept our good and release it.

We can never be anything that we do not have the potential of being. And the potential for being is always within us, from the very beginning. Our pathway to fulfillment is the way of believing that we have the ability, and seeking to cultivate it and release it. This is the way of faith, the way of security, the way of joy and ease of expression. And, it is the way so clearly outlined in the Bible.

For instance, the story of the Israelites in their flight from Egypt is quite meaningful today. On the surface, it would seem anything but inspirational. Moses encouraged his people to give up their security, meager as was their lot in Egypt, and brave the unknown journey to a vague Promised Land. Actually, as we measure distances today, it was a very short trip—about 200 miles. Yet it took them 40 years to arrive at their destination—40 years of struggles, disputes, hard work and frustration. What is so inspiring about that? With a little more insight into human nature and a contemplation of the spiritual meaning of the story, we see that Moses represents the coming of Truth consciousness to man.

Metaphysically interpreted, the word “country” means “state of consciousness”, so Egypt in the story represents a consciousness of bondage to flesh, to materiality and to poverty. When we get our first glimpse of Truth we find the vision of the Promised Land looming large on the horizon. It means happiness and peace; it means freedom from want and sickness; it means a new and wonderful life. So, full of hope and promise, we pick up and journey forth from the consciousness that has enslaved us for so long.

At first glance, it would seem to be a simple trip. The Israelites had Moses, their leader, and they had a goal 200 miles away. All they had to do was go and enter and possess the land. But what happened? They did arrive easily and quickly at the very border of the land and sent spies into the area to see what was ahead of them. What was the report? They came back saying, “There are giants in the land, and we are in their sight and in ours as grasshoppers.” In other words they did not have the consciousness to possess that which they desired, even though it was there for the taking.

This is a confusing point in the study of these new insights into Truth. A person may say, “X have been inspired by Truth. Now, why am I not healed and why don’t my affairs prosper?” The Israelites had gained their freedom from the bondage and enslavement of Egypt, and they had Moses himself as their leader, but something was lacking. They were still slaves at heart—grasshoppers in consciousness.

The Israelites had to wander in the wilderness before they could become a cohesive body, a community group, a nation in their own right. Their long years in the wilderness was their long way home. But it was the right way, and, perhaps for them, the only way. They had to remain in the wilderness until they dropped the grasshopper consciousness and claimed for themselves their own spiritual inheritance. Certainly they were children of God right at the beginning and all along the way, but they didn’t know it.

With us we find that reading the right books, being inspired by all the right courses and leaders (and reading these essays), may not be enough. We say, “I know the Truth. Why am I not helped or healed?” Yes, you know about the Truth. But perhaps you do not know the Truth. Our wilderness is our laboratory of growth and unfoldment; it is our long way home.

Paul tells us, “For the earnest expectation of the creation awaiteth the revealing of the sons of God.” The fulfillment of our desire, the attaining of our Promised Land (whether it be healing or prosperity or guidance), awaits the revelation of our own innate potential, the awakened consciousness that I am a child of God and I can do what I want to do because I know that I am. The journey home depends not on the distance between where we are and where our good actually is. The journey depends on how long it takes us to accept the Truth about ourselves, to accept the realization that we already have within us that which we seek. It takes about as long to demonstrate health as it takes to realize that we are already whole. It takes as long to take the next step forward on the road to success as it takes to believe that you are the spirit of success. It is a matter of faith and confidence and vision and expectancy. And these we develop on our long way home.

In the Christian tradition there has been the confusing concept of the second coming of Christ. Jesus’ original coming, as with Moses, meant the coming of Truth into the consciousness of man. Truth comes as a series of ideals, wonderful promises that bring on all sorts of expectations, dreams and aspirations. But Truth, by itself, does not change our lives. Somewhere along the line, we must grasp its inner meaning. As Job said, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye seeth thee.” We will find that all the heartaches and challenges of the long way home are really meaningful and important...because it is in this way that we change our grasshopper consciousness and accept the truth of our sonship.

The long way home is often the right way—the way of study and diligent effort, the way of growth and experience. But somewhere along that way, something happens. And it is that moment when the drudge becomes a genius, when the amateur becomes the professional, when timidity turns to confidence, where failure becomes success, where the weak and sickly individuals become children of God, a way this is the second coming of Christ. This is that new birth, that discovery of the wholeness of each one of us.

© 1975, by Eric Butterworth

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