I was at a weekly testimony meeting at my branch Church of Christ, Scientist, recently, where someone gave a testimony that, in part, discussed how God is always taking care of us, His children, even if we are not acknowledging or looking for it right then. I, too, have seen this to be true.
Several years ago I went through a very low time in my life. I was suffering from a deep depression, a gambling addiction, and health issues. One day during this time, I learned that one of my adult daughters, who was also a close confidant and friend, had died. I was inconsolable and angry at God. My thought was clouded by grief, and I blamed God for her death.
But in Christian Science we learn that God is Love. The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, says, “God is what the Scriptures declare Him to be,—Life, Truth, Love” (p. 330). I have been a Christian Scientist almost all of my life, and I knew in my heart that prayer to better understand God as Love would help me. I called a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful treatment. This support was invaluable, as I felt unable to really pray for myself. I would try to read the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson, but my heart wasn’t in it. However, precious ideas from passages in the Bible and Science and Health would come to me from memory.
I picked up my Bible one day and opened it to Psalm 23. As I was reading this psalm and got to the part that says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (verse 4), I felt something in my thought shift as I caught a glimpse of God’s infinite love for us.
I then went to Science and Health and read these words, referring to the 23rd Psalm: “In the following Psalm one word shows, though faintly, the light which Christian Science throws on the Scriptures by substituting for the corporeal sense, the incorporeal or spiritual sense of Deity:—
“PSALM XXIII …
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for [LOVE] is with me; [LOVE’S] rod and [LOVE’S] staff they comfort me” (pp. 577–578).
Divine Love is with me and comforts me. I held on to this thought day and night for several days. I began to see more clearly that God really is Love and that this God, or Love, had never left me comfortless and never leaves any of us comfortless.
I was then led to study what the Bible says about man. The first chapter of Genesis states: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (verses 26, 27).
I realized that this identity was my daughter’s true self. It is the spiritual reality of all of us, made in God’s perfect likeness. This spiritual identity could never die or disappear. Even though I could no longer see my daughter materially, I realized that she was still held in Love’s care. I could continue to prayerfully hold to this truth for her and me.
Soon the darkness in my thought disappeared. I had a freer step, and the sense of mourning lifted. God’s rod and staff, they comforted me. I began to read the Bible Lesson with joy again, always on the lookout for some new idea of God’s love for me and of my relationship to my Father, who was also my daughter’s heavenly Father. Since then, the many beautiful memories I have of this beautiful daughter have warmed my thoughts instead of bringing sadness and depression. The Comforter, the Science of Christ, has comforted me. Healings of the health issues I had been dealing with have also come, as has freedom from the gambling addiction (see “Break the grip of gambling,” April 4, 2016, Sentinel).
The Comforter can comfort you, too, in your times of extreme need. Even if that “valley of the shadow of death” seems to be looming, we can walk through and out of it. We’re not alone; Love is there to guide us every step of the way, even if we’re slow in turning to Love. We can hold fast to the promise of the goodness of God and our relation to Him, and overcome thoughts of loss or mourning that would overtake our thinking. In thinking of loved ones we have lost, we can affirm man’s eternal oneness with God.
There is a poem that Mrs. Eddy wrote titled “Mother’s Evening Prayer” (see Poems, pp. 4–5). This poem was like a prayer for me, and I would like to share part of it here. Its truths can bring the comfort and healing we need, right now:
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
. . . . . . .
O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill,—since God is good, and loss is gain.
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