He lifts us up
It is as natural to us as breathing to know that God is here.
Like today, the years of Christ Jesus’ ministry were filled with political and social turmoil. Jesus himself was subject to constant persecution because of his teachings and healings. Yet Jesus also gave us the best possible example of how to approach troubling times and personal difficulties.
Jesus often referred to God as Father. At one point, in a moment of direst need, he was in the garden of Gethsemane and knew that he was about to be tried and crucified; the disciples he had asked to watch with him had gone to sleep. He was alone. We read in the Gospel of Mark: “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (14:35, 36 ).
In the context of this desperate moment, Jesus directly addressing his divine Father suggests a whole world of confident love and trust. The prayer that he gave his disciples and humanity begins with “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9 ), and in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy interprets this verse as “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (p. 16 ). As I was reading this passage recently, it dawned on me that Jesus’ view of God included both fatherly strength and protection and motherly love and care. And it reminded me of a childhood experience of mine.
On a warm summer afternoon, the whole family was in the yard. My brother and I were racing our bikes from one end of the yard down toward the house, and my dad was nearby painting the trim on an outside window. In one of our races, I lost control of the brakes on my bike and hurtled off the lawn and down a few steps, crashing into the side of the house. As I lay in a crumpled heap, the cry “Daddy!” came from my mouth faster than any thought. But even that cry wasn’t needed. Dad was already there, lifting my bike out of the way and carrying me into the house.
I knew that both my parents were praying for me, and my mom dressed my wounds and later changed my bandages as needed. The healing of the injuries took a little while, but what has remained with me all this time is my total trust that my dad was there, and loved me, and would help me before I even asked. If I could have such complete trust that a human parent would be there to help me, how much more should we know that God, our divine Father-Mother, is always right here for each of us?
I have so often seen a parent and child waiting to cross the road, and loved that sweet moment when the child reaches up for the parent’s hand without even looking. In that moment, the child understands that she needs help and is completely confident that it’s right there with her. In the New Testament, Jesus makes very clear the need for us all to have that child-heart that is ready to receive the Father’s love and direction: “Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2–4 ).
The complete trust that Jesus had is also ours as our divine Father-Mother’s beloved children.
When our daughter was very young, she gave my husband and me a lesson in childlike confidence and trust. She awoke one night, crying and in pain from an earache. We brought her into bed with us and started praying immediately. My husband got up to call a Christian Science practitioner for treatment through prayer as I snuggled with our daughter. It came to me to ask our daughter, “What’s your favorite synonym for God?” Without hesitation, she responded, “Love!” I said that it was mine too, and we talked for a few minutes about what we love so much about divine Love. By the time my husband returned, her tears had stopped. She looked up at him, said, “Goodnight!” and went instantly to sleep. That was the end of the earache. The pain simply disappeared as we recognized the omnipresence of God, Love.
Looking back at Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, it’s important to note that although he discerned what he was about to face, Jesus did not assume that God did not exist or had suddenly become distant and uncaring. He addressed God as his loving Father, just as he always had, and was aware that God was able to sustain him in the ordeal he was about to encounter.
It’s interesting to see, too, that right on the heels of Jesus’ appeal “Take away this cup from me” comes the realization that facing and overcoming this trial was all for the glory of God and the benefit of humanity: “Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Jesus knew that the peace and triumph of the resurrection were to replace the drama of the crucifixion, giving all people hope of their own resurrections from sorrow, disease, and yes, even death.
Although we won’t be faced with the same circumstances as Jesus, the lesson is timeless and universal. Because of Jesus’ example, we can have full confidence that tumultuous experiences and desperate times can be overcome. We can do it because Jesus showed us through his own demonstration the way to victory.
The great news is, the complete trust that Jesus had is also ours as our divine Father-Mother’s beloved children. It is as natural to us as breathing to know that God is here, that divine Love loves us and has already given us all we need.