The love God has for you

God’s love may come as a gentle thought, but its effect is a tangible reality.

Every day news reports tell of lives being shattered both figuratively and literally; fragmentation of families through divorce, cities by flooding, countries by war. But even in the middle of a catastrophe, God, Love, is there and will always be present at every moment.

My first insight into this truth came as a very quiet, gentle message one afternoon, an angel message that caught my full attention. It was simply, “The love God has for you.” 

I didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew I shouldn’t just think of it as a “nice moment,” and then let it go. I was supposed to hold on to it.

The next afternoon, a beautiful summer day, I was at home with my six-year-old daughter. She and a friend were playing in the sprinklers in the backyard, and I was in the house cleaning out the refrigerator. I began to take out all the containers and bottles and set them on the kitchen counters. Running out of space, I put a large, heavy, glass casserole lid on the back burner of the stove. A little later I decided to put the tea kettle on to make iced tea, and turned the front burner on high.

Not long after that, my daughter walked into the kitchen in her wet swimsuit to ask a question. Just then there was a large explosion. Glass flew everywhere.  

I hadn’t turned on the front burner, where the kettle was. Instead, I had turned on the back burner with the casserole lid sitting on it. Pieces of glass fell near my bare feet, and flew all over the kitchen to where my daughter was standing. Neither of us moved, or even jumped from the noise, which would have been the normal reaction.  

When it was quiet again, we were both standing in exactly the same spots as before. Quickly and calmly, knowing that most of her little body was uncovered and that her feet were bare, I told my daughter not to move. I looked down at my bare feet and about an inch away from one of them was the heavy glass handle, which had already melted through the linoleum and was embedded in the floor. But I was unhurt and could see a clear path to my daughter. I made my way over to her and checked her from head to toe. There wasn’t a single piece of glass, not even the tiniest shard, on any part of her. We were both completely untouched.

She went outside to play while I cleaned up. It was amazing how far some of the smaller pieces had flown, but neither of us had been touched. It was as though we had both been covered by an invisible shield. What had happened?

As I cleaned up the glass, I thought about the message I had received the day before, saying, “The love that God has for you.” I had been actively appreciating it and allowing its loving touch to permeate my thought. I realized that it had served as our armor, much like that promised in Psalm 91: “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day” (verse 5, New King James Version). 

One Bible translation of that verse says to fear nothing including, “. . . disaster that erupts at high noon” (The Message). There was an eruption all right. But we felt none of its danger, and all of God’s love.  

The Psalmist’s vivid description of God’s protection—no matter what the circumstance—was clearly evident that afternoon. Resting our thoughts, our hearts, our very lives in “the secret place of the most High” (Psalms 91:1), was a sure defense for us, and that defense is available to everyone.  

The psalm includes several wonderful references to the ways that Love takes care of us. It uses words that indicate protection such as refuge, shield, buckler, and fortress. It promises, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (verse 11, New International Version). An angel that visited me the day before had offered such a tender message that it couldn’t be ignored, and its strength saved us from much harm.

We may not always be spared the difficult experience, not even one of flying glass, but we can be protected throughout the experience, so that our sense of safety remains intact.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, explains in her book Science and Health: “Adhesion, cohesion, and attraction are properties of Mind. They belong to divine Principle, and support the equipoise of that thought-force, which launched the earth in its orbit and said to the proud wave, ‘Thus far and no farther’ ” (p. 124).  

It’s helpful to consider these properties because to understand them is to arm yourself against aggressive arguments that would deny their very presence. Omnipresent, omniscient Love overrides error’s desperate claim that the world is a vulnerable place, where harmful and disturbing events can occur at any time.

Resting our thoughts, our hearts, our very lives on "the secret place of the most High," was a sure defense for us, and that defense is available to everyone.

If adhesion is a force or law established by God, Principle, then can man, God’s image, be separated from that law? The fact is that he can’t, for the principle cannot be separated from its proof. Or as St. Paul puts it, “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).

A letter written to the Colossians, refers to them as “being knit together in love” (Colossians 2:2). In a knitted garment, each stitch is important to the whole, and the result is a beautiful garment. Just so, harmony is the natural state of God’s creation, including His idea, man, and all ideas work together in harmony, in perfect balance, coordination, and cooperation.

Mind, divine intelligence, leaves no room for wavering, undisciplined, or confused thinking. A ray of light can’t suddenly become fascinated by the dark. It knows itself only as light, it sees only light, and it reflects only light. The sun is its source of life, and it cannot find the power or intelligence to begin a life of its own, separate from the sun. Just as the compass needle always points to the north, man is naturally attracted to wholesome and health-giving ideas.

Animal magnetism is the term that Mrs. Eddy gives to evil or error, and its method of operation is to create a sense of division or separation from good. To separate, or at least make us think we’re separated from good, is one form it takes. In the workplace it can appear as opposing ideas vying for recognition; in marriage it may take the form of spouses disagreeing on how to run the house or take care of the kids. In church it can show up as strong personalities overriding the desires of other members, or unconstructive criticism transmitted in the form of gossip.

Christian Science shows us how to reverse these mistaken views of reality with the truth of being. Right where there seems to be division or separation, we can insist on the spiritual fact of unity and cooperation. We can hold to the truth that divine Mind can manifest only ideas that work together cohesively in perpetual harmony.  

As God’s image, we are naturally attracted to Mind’s intelligent purpose, which reveals harmonious ideas that perpetually guard and guide all actions. And as we nurture these wholesome ideas, adhering to the truth that God is good, we strengthen our ability to face life’s perils and remove the temptation to react to any eruptions with fear and doubt. In a sermon delivered in Boston in January 1885, Mrs. Eddy, referring to cohesion and attraction, said, “If Mind, God, is all-power and all-presence, man is not met by another power and presence, that—obstructing his intelligence—pains, fetters, and befools him.” Later she exhorted, “Let us open our affections to the Principle that moves all in harmony,—from the falling of a sparrow to the rolling of a world” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, pp. 173, 174.)

As we open our affections to the Principle of good, we rely less and less on material armors that are often limited in their ability to protect and shelter us. Instead, we can take time—just a few moments, if that’s all that is available—to think about God’s ever-present power and authority, His goodness. Then our daily prayer—our mental shelter and shield—covers us with an armor that is made up of inspired thoughts. These thoughts not only refresh us throughout the day but enable us to meet and oppose every sling and arrow that come our way.  

To become conscious of the ever-presence of divine Love, opening our heart and affections to that heavenly Principle, shields us from suggestions that we’ve been replaced, displaced, or misplaced. Fragmentation is not known in the realm of good, God, where “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  

There can be no greater shelter from any kind of storm—verbal, mental, or physical—than God, divine Love, and the unlimited abundance of His-Her affections. That’s some armor!

A spiritual slam dunk
April 2, 2012

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