Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 42 God is my strength. Vision is His gift.
- The idea for today combines two very powerful thoughts, both of major importance. It also sets forth a cause and effect relationship that explains why you cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the goal of the course. You will see because it is the will of God. It is His strength, not your own, that gives you power. And it is His gift, rather than your own, that offers vision to you.
- God is indeed your strength, and what He gives is truly given. This means that you can receive it at anytime and anywhere, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot be but in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.
- We will have two three-to-five-minute practice periods today, one as soon as possible after you wake, and another as close as possible to the time you go to sleep. It is better, however, to wait until you can sit quietly by yourself, at a time when you feel ready, then it is to be concerned with the time as such.
- Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today slowly, with your eyes open, looking about you. Then close your eyes and repeat the idea again, even slower than before. After this, try to think of nothing except thoughts that occur to you in relation to the idea for the day. You might think, for example Vision must be possible. God gives truly. Or: God’s gifts to me must be mine, because He gave them to me.
- Any thought that is clearly related to the idea for today is suitable. You may, in fact, be astonished at the amount of course-related understanding some of your thoughts contain. Let them come without censoring unless you find your mind is merely wandering, and you let obviously irrelevant thoughts intrude. You may also reach a point where no thoughts at all seem to come to mind. If such interferences occur, open your eyes and repeat the thought once more while looking slowly about; close your eyes, repeat the idea once more, and then continue to look for related thoughts in your mind.
- Remember, however, that active searching for relevant thoughts is not appropriate for today’s exercises. Try merely to step back and let the thoughts come. If you find this difficult, it is better to spend the practice period alternating between slow repetitions of the idea with eyes open, then with eyes closed, than it is to strain to find suitable thoughts.
- There is no limit on the number of short practice periods that would be beneficial today. The idea for the day is a beginning step in bringing thoughts together and teaching you that you are studying a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant.
- The more often you repeat the idea during the day the more often you will be reminding yourself that the goal of the course is important to you and that you have not forgotten it.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): This morning I read my lesson and took a few minutes for my personal devotion. Throughout the day, I repeated the idea: God is my strength. Vision is His gift. I would look at Mark and Yvonne, at James, at the passing things that we did – (we were going to Key West and traveling down the highway with the ocean on either side). God is my strength. Vision is His Gift. There was a time while we were in Key West that I had an almost other-worldly experience. It was dark. We were walking down the pavement in the sultry, sea air night: there are lights and bars, island music and people passing, and a nice breeze and I experienced Something. Later I tried to think about it, but it was just one of those gifts that come, beckon, give, and does not linger long. What was it? Some kind of realization: God is my strength. Vision is His Gift. I saw something. I envisioned something very loving, good, and kind… and permissive. Yes, permissive. Wanting me to have fun. To be blithe and bonnie. To laugh and have joy. Not to be preachy or stingy with myself or others. To stand aside and let God’s strength and God’s vision.
It was shortly after this that I said, “Let’s get conch fritters,” because it had occurred to me that I can eat and drink whatever I want, and be fun and have fun and enjoy, and I do not have to be afraid for my health or for my wits so much – because I belong to God. And all this worry about not drinking and not eating this or that – I was on vacation and with our friends and we were so happy after that. I could treat them, these kind, generous people who were doing their best to show us, their guests, a good time. We could drink and eat and not worry about our figures or our health or even about keeping our wits about us, (which has been an ongoing concern of mine considering all the craziness in our family!) Thank you, Lord!
I had not understood the second sentence of the lesson in that today’s idea “sets forth a cause and effect relationship” that gives us total assurance of reaching the goal of the course. And today I believe I experienced this cause and effect relationship. Relying on my own strength and my own vision, there we were trudging through Key West, fat, old, and used-up, caricatures of our former beautiful, younger, slimmer, funnier selves. Perhaps a little bored with ourselves, with life, with each other – been there, done that. And then Something happened – God is my strength. Vision is His gift…and our friends and my grumpy husband suddenly were transformed before my eyes and I could see them for who and what they really are – lighthearted, happy, fun, and adventurous – full of beauty, soul, and the most interesting and funny stories. God’s strength; God’s vision; God’s gift.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): Today we had our devotions while James drove to work, and I sat in my office sipping coffee. After I read the lesson, we did our first practice period. The thought that came to my mind was how keenly I reexperienced the sensation of what had happened last year in Key West, how I felt God’s strength and could see with God’s vision and how it changed everything. James remembered it as well, and he apologized for allowing his aches, pains, insecurity, and boredom interfere with our enjoyment that night. He said, I wish you would have pulled me aside and had a little talk with me. But I didn’t have to do that – God wanted me to step up and take charge and use His strength and His vision and deny perceptual access to the blighted eyes of James’ or my own ego. It was a good experience for me to have; the times I cater to not only my own ego, but James’ ego, I am doing neither of us any favor!
This was an important and powerful example for me of the cause and effect relationship of God is my strength; vision is His gift and how stepping up and accepting this, embracing this, helps us to perform miracles as natural to us as breathing; as fun to us as giggling and carrying on with our dearest friends; as meaningful as giving birth. God is my strength; vision is His gift does give birth to an entirely different perception of the whole world. What happened in Key West can happen in every aspect of our lives.
When I pull in the driveway and see our ongoing house project, the muddy landscape, and the weeds collecting around the fence, God is my strength/Vision is His gift fills me with gratitude and joy in our ongoing process, in our many adventures, in having a house and a home and each other. Seeing it through God’s eyes, I experience a sense of being an integral part of a delightful, creative process.
We can see the story of our lives in much the same way – God is my strength/Vision is His gift – takes all of those train wrecks and dead ends, those mistaken drives for love and belonging, for power and control, for fun and adventure – and instead of shame and guilt and demands for sacrifice, gives us love, tenderness, and forgiveness toward ourselves and others. We get to overlook it all! There are no negative balances in our account. We thought we were living in a zero, as a zero, and caught up with zeros. When we remember who we are, we know we are One. Zeroes mean nothing; zeroes no longer cloud our sight. God is our strength; His vision is our vision.
Another idea we had from today’s lesson was inspired by the third sentence forward in paragraph two: “Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot help but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.”
This releases us from any guilt, shame, question, or worry. Growing up with a Pentecostal mother who was always trying to find God’s Will and fretting over if she was in God’s Will or not, today Jesus tells us that wherever we find ourselves, we are in the right place at the right time – so let go and embrace the will of God. We can step away from all of our worries, cares, and doubts when we relax and know God’s strength and God’s vision.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 42 God is my strength…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp. 65-66.