The restoring power of Love

A prayer for Syria and Turkey.

Originally published for the Christian Science Sentinel online on February 10, 2023

“What can I do?” is a question that’s likely echoing for many of us as we see the devastating images coming out of Syria and Turkey. I’ve been grateful to see humanitarian organizations mobilizing, to have opportunities to donate to such efforts, and to watch other countries offer and lend their help.

But I wanted to do more—especially for those in the quake zone and beyond who are struggling with unimaginable grief and heartbreak. And as I kept asking that question—“What can I do?”—a time in my own life when I faced shock and grief came to thought, like a reminder that there is a way forward.

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In those moments of my own heartbreak, I experienced something as I never had before. It was a presence that I didn’t feel I’d even had the will to call for, but was still making itself known to me. It felt like love—but not from a person. It was a sense of love that was so much bigger than anything personal or finite. And my upbringing as a Christian Scientist gave me the vocabulary for it: divine Love, another name for God.

This Love was a presence and power I’d experienced before in moments of prayer, but always when I’d reached out for it. But this sense of it was different, and I felt as if it showed me what the author of the 23rd Psalm had been talking about when he said that God “restores my soul” (verse 3, New King James Version).

That’s what Love does. It restores us. Makes us feel whole. Helps us recognize that even in moments of tragedy, wholeness of heart can still be ours, because that’s how Love sees us, knows us, keeps us—spiritual, safe, whole.

Divine Love makes its presence known to each of us in a way that heals.

We may each experience this restoring power of Love differently, but for me it came like gentle waves lapping at the shore of my thoughts. One after another, beautiful divine messages began to wash my heart and mind of paralyzing sadness. And there was a power to them that felt almost irresistible. In spite of the intensity of the initial emotions, I found myself compelled to shift from looking only into the darkness of despair to gazing into the light of Love.

Though the circumstances were different, this experience has been a powerful impetus for my prayers for the people of Syria and Turkey this week. I’ve wanted to know for sure that they, too, can feel this restoring power of Love. And I’ve found this passage from the textbook on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, helpful in recognizing why they can: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 13).

As universal and infinite, Love is unbounded in its reach. Unconfined by borders. It is present everywhere. And Love is ever active, so its rescuing, restoring activity is ongoing, unstoppable. It reaches, touches, comforts, every heart. It breaks through the deepest darkness. Divine Love makes its presence known to each of us in a way that heals.

Love did this for me. After that incident, I found both freedom from grief and a profound feeling of restoration that remains with me. But what’s even more palpable is the enduring faith I gained that Love’s own ceaseless being enfolds and uplifts all of us.

This promise is for everyone, right now. Science and Health gives a spiritual sense of the 23rd Psalm, which captures this promise perfectly in its last line: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] for ever” (p. 578).

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