Watching the news these days, we can sometimes find it difficult to feel quite safe amid all the headlines. Whether it’s the effects of war, illness, natural disaster, or violence, we may be tempted to believe that life is fragile and that man is a material being at the mercy of circumstance. But these reports, however dire, can never change the facts of being—that man’s life is spiritual, harmonious, and eternal. Through the years I’ve learned that when we are faced with the suggestion that life is temporary or fleeting, it is both necessary and uplifting to take a firm stand for the reality of the power and ever-presence of Life, or God.
Some time ago, when my mother passed away quite suddenly, I turned to these truths about life, which I have always known. When I heard of my mother’s passing, my first thoughts included a quiet acknowledgment that while I could no longer see my mother, she was continuing on, growing in her spiritual understanding, and that she could never be separated from God, who is her Life. I was able to rejoice in the love our family had always shared.
However, as the days moved on, a fear began to creep in—that perhaps life is “here today and gone tomorrow.” As a mother of three children myself, I began to worry that if my mother could pass from our sight so suddenly, this could happen to me as well.
I was immediately assured that right now and always I am held secure in Life.
Soon, I began having trouble feeling safe and secure in my life. And even though I wasn’t fully aware of this fear at first, it seemed to manifest itself in some alarming physical symptoms that I had never experienced before. Within a short time, I was convinced that something was very wrong. I had never before been afraid of dying, yet suddenly I was having trouble imagining myself being around to watch my children grow up.
I called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me, and I was immediately assured that right now and always I am held secure in Life. Some of the most meaningful words the practitioner said to me were simply “You are safe.” She assured me that I did not have a physical condition to overcome because God had already established me as His own spiritual expression—very good and in perfect health, or harmony. She said I could, in essence, wake up from the dream of life in matter and realize that I am already and forever perfect, whole, and complete, and that I could never deviate from this spiritual fact of my being.
I didn’t immediately grasp the full significance of what she said, but it became clear to me that this was an opportunity for me to truly understand the strength and permanence of my life as held forever in Life—continuous, harmonious, and eternal.
Since Life (with a capital L) is a synonym for God, it makes sense that Life, or God, is everywhere and is always strong and vibrant, forever expressing itself in our life. Also, given that Life is God, and that God is Spirit, we can see that true life is spiritual—it isn’t confined in matter or material bodies that are fragile and weak. Life is boundless, endless, and enduring.
These lessons on life were illustrated in the life and teachings of Christ Jesus. In the Bible, Jesus taught his disciples that life is eternal. He proved that death is not a reality nor a destination for man because all is Life. He showed that there is nothing that can stop man’s expression of Life because Life and its expression, man, are not in matter nor defined by material conditions. He helped others to see their spiritual nature as being at one with God, untouched by human tragedy, illness, or death. He refuted the notion that life is fleeting and fragile with his understanding and demonstration of eternal life.
Speaking of this demonstration, and of his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus said: “No man taketh it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:18).
This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote of Jesus’ demonstration of Life, “The great Way-shower illustrated Life unconfined, uncontaminated, untrammelled, by matter” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 30). And she further explained his understanding of life as spiritual and eternal in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “He knew that matter had no life and that real Life is God; therefore he could no more be separated from his spiritual Life than God could be extinguished” (p. 51).
I prayed deeply with these ideas, yearning to feel my permanent connection with God and to be free from any sense of danger. Over the next few months, as I persisted in turning my thought away from the physical symptoms and the fear I felt, I enjoyed periods of relief; but the symptoms would still return.
One quiet Saturday, as I was praying to feel my connectedness with God, I looked out the window and noticed it was a beautiful, sunny day. I remembered there was some gardening I needed to do, and I decided to get a change of scenery. Sitting down in the garden, I planted a perennial that would bring pink flowers to my garden every summer for years to come.
Sitting there, enjoying the beauty of this day, I suddenly felt filled with a sense of the infinite nature of Life and a greater awareness of Life’s myriad expressions, unending nature, and constant being. Instead of feeling separated from Life—staying inside the house, plagued by fear—I had gone out to my garden and enjoyed just being.
I felt deeply connected with Life, embraced by and at one with it. I realized that Life is abundant, infinite, and magnificent. I couldn’t be separated from Life because I was always the very expression of Life—forever supported and sustained by God. In that moment, I felt completely free of fear and the physical symptoms for the first time in many weeks.
I had many instances of yielding to God’s love and to the powerful idea that God is my life and that Life is the law of my being.
This experience woke me up to the total unreality of any physical claim on my health and gave me the strength and confidence to keep praying and see complete healing. Many times over the next six months I needed to go back to what I understood in that moment in the garden and cling to the truth of my being. I had many instances of yielding to God’s love and to the powerful idea that God is my life and that Life is the law of my being.
As I persisted in prayer, the fear and the symptoms gradually melted away until they were entirely gone, and they never returned. I felt as though I had emerged from a dream and was now feeling very awake. I had come to realize a fresh, new, joyous sense of Life. I felt safe, protected, invigorated, and absolutely convinced of the truth that life is spiritual and eternal.
I had experienced something of what Science and Health speaks of: “In Colossians (iii. 4) Paul writes: ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear [be manifested], then shall ye also appear [be manifested] with him in glory.’ When spiritual being is understood in all its perfection, continuity, and might, then shall man be found in God’s image. The absolute meaning of the apostolic words is this: Then shall man be found, in His likeness, perfect as the Father, indestructible in Life, ‘hid with Christ in God,’—with Truth in divine Love, where human sense hath not seen man” (p. 325).
When we understand that our life is spiritual, forever upheld in and expressing Life, the sense of a material, fragile life that depends on matter for its safety and survival completely fades from thought. The confidence inspired by the true understanding of life and God’s creation brings us strength and peace.
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