God's parenting

If you're struggling with the loss of a parent, perhaps accepting the prevalent belief that grief is something time alone will heal, you'll find a rich mine of healing treasures in the Bible. For example, Christ Jesus assures us in the Sermon on the Mount, ''Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.''n1 The Master proved for all time that sin, illness, sorrow, and even death can be overcome through God's power alone.

n1 Matthew 5:4.

The Gospels show clearly how close to God Jesus felt. In his prayers and parables he often referred to God as Father and to himself as His son. And while he loved and cared for his human family, his life and teachings stress man's oneness with God, the immortal status of everyone's sonship with the divine Parent.

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A liberating statement of spiritual truth is found in these Scriptural words: ''Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.''n2 This marvelous gift can't be taken away. In reality, we always have been, are now, and always will be the child of God. He is our Mother as well as Father, and we're enveloped in His love. No power exists apart from God, nothing that can separate us from Him or disturb that eternal relationship. We can become conscious of these truths through prayer and through humbly following the Master's teachings and example.

n2 I John 3:1.

Recently when my mother passed away (both my parents were now gone), I faced the question, ''How does it feel to no longer be someone's child?'' I was grateful that through the study of Christian Science I had begun to understand more of God and my relationship to Him. Surely this understanding would help me to overcome the feeling of loss and separation.

I turned to the Bible for inspiration. Jesus' promise of comfort, and the verse from I John just quoted, helped me. As I prayed, I realized that all the loving, caring, guiding, and nurturing my human mother had given me was her individual expression of God's immortal qualities -- qualities she continued to express as God's image and that could never be lost. Those qualities were just as available to me now because their source was God. Therefore, I could not feel bereft of anything good but could discern and experience God's goodness in tangible ways here and now.

I repudiated the belief that man is the product of material generation. I glimpsed something of the truth that in reality man is always the perfect spiritual reflection of God. I realized that right now God is loving and caring for each of His children, including my parents and me. The appearance of death cannot change the imperishable fact that God is eternal Life, well able to sustain each of His offspring in perfect harmony through divine law.

I continued praying along these lines and soon felt a wonderful release from grief. A feeling of security and peace replaced loneliness and sorrow. The peace that came was of the kind described in Mary Baker Eddy's n3 definition of ''Japhet,'' Noah's son, in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''A type of spiritual peace, flowing from the understanding that God is the divine Principle of all existence, and that man is His idea, the child of His care.''n4

n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n4 Science and Health, p. 589.

As we let the truth of God's loving parenting replace thoughts of loss, peace will begin to pervade our experience, and our present needs will be cared for in the most appropriate ways. We'll rejoice in the fact that we are always someone's child -- God's. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:16

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