Rediscovering joy

Current news bulletins and continued pandemic lockdown restrictions can make it seem difficult to find much to be joyful about. But when I found myself struggling with feelings of depression recently, I recalled a healing I had several years ago that brought physical freedom and boundless joy.

I’d moved house following a divorce, and one evening as I was coming to the end of taking up some old carpets, I painfully wrenched my finger, which resulted in swelling and a loss of flexibility. That week’s Bible Lesson in the Christian Science Quarterly was on the subject “Man,” and the thought came, “You have been reading about man made in God’s image and likeness all week; now you need to put into practice what you have been reading.” I decided that since nothing could injure God, nothing could injure God’s reflection, me, so I didn’t need to act as if it had! I made a makeshift splint to keep the finger straight, then I cleaned up and went to bed. 

Next morning when I removed the splint, I saw to my dismay that the symptoms hadn’t improved and that my finger was now discolored. A little later my ex-husband came round to do a job at the house. I was just about to take the carpet to the waste collection site, and he pointed out that to get there, I would pass the hospital, and that I should pop in and get the finger X-rayed. 

As I set off in the car, I prayed, “Father, what is it that I need to know?” These words from a familiar hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal came to thought: “Share Thy joy and spend it freely” (Elizabeth C. Adams, No. 58). I immediately rejected this message as having nothing to do with the problem at hand. I prayed some more. The same words came again. I didn’t understand what the connection was but thought, “Well, this message keeps repeating itself, so maybe you should ponder it. Nothing else is coming to thought!”

As I finally obeyed this divine urging, I realized that there had been very little joy being expressed in my life of late. I was sad about the divorce; I was troubled about having had to move house; I was concerned about my financial situation; and I was feeling depressed. Then this realization came: “Share His joy—God is showing you that you have a share in His joy. There is as much divine joy available as you could possibly want, and you have a share in it. Spend it freely—it’s free! You can both share in it and share it out, freely. Unlimited, infinite, boundless, spiritual joy. As much as you could possibly want or use—it’s all here now!” 

So, I began to sing. I sang the entire hymn, then another hymn, and another hymn, and by the time I reached the waste collection site, the discoloration and swelling of my finger were fading before my eyes. When I returned home some fifty minutes later, the finger was completely normal, and I was able to move it freely without any discomfort whatsoever. My ex-husband saw me waving the finger and asked, “What did they do?” I replied that I hadn’t been to the hospital. He looked amazed and asked, “Well, what happened?” What happened was that I had learned the power of joy and that we should never underestimate God’s angel messages when we hear them.

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