More than 30 years ago, God unfolded to me a whole new view of my life—a view that gave me a powerful sense of eternity. At the time, I was at a very low point. My husband of 21 years was asking for a divorce, and I was terrified about my future.
One day I was sitting at the kitchen table, praying and crying at the same time, when suddenly this thought began to unfold: When a three-year-old child breaks his favorite toy, he comes to his mother in tears. It’s a major tragedy in his life. But his mother knows what’s happened is not really so devastating. Why? Because she sees her child’s life from a different perspective. She can see his whole life in a way that he can’t, and she knows he’s not going to still be upset about this even a couple of months from now, let alone two years from now, or when he’s ten years old, or forty. And so she tenderly gathers him up in her lap, dries his tears, and assures him that there will be other toys and other good times.
At that moment, I suddenly could feel my Father-Mother God, tenderly gathering me up into Her lap and assuring me that in the context of all eternity, my broken marriage was just not the big tragedy I thought it was. I saw my life as endless and knew that it would hold many different joys. I knew I was seeing my life from God’s perspective—the way He sees it—and I felt greatly encouraged and strengthened as I fully accepted God’s view. Over the years since then, that view of myself and my life has grown and deepened, transforming the way I look at everything.
It’s since become even clearer to me that none of us are living a birth-to-death, cradle-to-grave life. That’s simply a false view of life. It’s not a section of our real, eternal life; it’s an illusion of a completely different kind of life. It’s possible to drop this false view of life—to mentally step outside the cradle-to-grave life—and begin living consciously in eternity now.
Mary Baker Eddy writes, “If we live after death and are immortal, we must have lived before birth, for if Life ever had any beginning, it must also have an ending …” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 429). Each of us, as an idea of God, has always existed and always will exist. If we’re dealing with some difficulty, even an apparently long-standing one, it may help to remind ourselves that we’re eternal and the problem isn’t. We were around long before a belief in any problem began, and we’ll be around long after any so-called problem is gone and forgotten.
This God’s-eye view of life awakens us to the inevitability of progress. We gain confidence in the future, as we see the eternal spiritual growth and development that lie ahead for each one of us. If you’re 99 years old right now, you have a wonderful eternal future ahead of you, filled with many different joys. I’ve spent the past 30-plus years since this unfoldment first came to me growing spiritually as a strong and happy single woman, and during that time God’s promise to me of many new joys has been amply fulfilled, often in surprising ways. So I know that there are infinite joys ahead for all of us—wonderful, unexpected joys that we can’t possibly imagine right now.
Hymn 226 in the Christian Science Hymnal speaks of God as light, and in the second verse it turns to Him with these words:
Shine forth, O Light, that we may see,
With hearts all unafraid,
The meaning and the majesty
Of things that Thou hast made:
Shine forth, and let the darkling past
Beneath Thy beam grow bright;
Shine forth, and touch the future vast
With Thine untroubled light.
When we open our thought to God’s perspective and see the vastness of eternity spread before us, then we can find ourselves untroubled by any temporary difficulty, knowing that God will take us safely through the illusion and out the other side. We learn to walk confidently forward from one joy to the next, in the light of an eternity that is shining all around us forever.
Diane Staples is a Christian Science practitioner. She lives in Danbury, Connecticut.