Comfort at hand

A hymn tells us that ''earth has no sorrow but Love can remove.''n1 No sorrow? Even when the heart is wounded by the thorns of betrayal and injustice? Even when someone dear to us is gone? Even these sorrows can be removed by divine Love.

n1 Christian Science Hymmal, No. 40.

The revelation that God is Love itself is a profound contribution of New Testament thought to mankind.n2 The Love that is God, with its tender ministrations and comforting presence, is here now to help us, no matter how crushed or abandoned or rejected or mocked we may feel.

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n2 See I John 4:16.

Love, by virtue of its infiniteness, replaces grief with comfort, brings balm to the aching heart, and calms agitation. An Old Testament prophet must have discerned this when he represented God as saying, ''As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.''n3 It is the nature of Love to pour forth tenderness, radiate peace, and bind up gently the wounds of grief, because the very presence of Love excludes pain and hate and loss.

n3 Isaiah 66:13.

We can feel this gentle, peaceful love of God by turning to Him in prayer. The desire to feel God's love is prayer itself. This yearning for tender assurance may lead us to glean the spiritual message of both familiar and unfamiliar Bible passages, and to let that message guide our thoughts and feelings. We can trust Love to govern our experience, to hear our prayers, and to make its presence known.

The promise, ''Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need,''n4 found in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,n5 has given solace to countless numbers. Many who have had bitter, heart-breaking experiences have found that in turning to divine Love as a child turns to his mother, they have become conscious of Love's unmistakable presence, and recognized that their particular need was being met. Moreover, they have found that the spiritual nature of life was beginning to be more real to them than the material scene on parade, which is generally labeled ''reality.''

n4 Science and Health, p. 494.

n5 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

Recently I was overwhelmed by grief when our teem-age daughter embarked on a course of behavior that was opposed to everything I held dear and to everything she had been taught. The sense of loss was dreadful, and I felt helpless to handle the situation. It became a time of turning constantly to God and of receiving the comfort and reassurance needed. But I was also being made to understand that I must forgive her while loving her as the child of God she in fact was. I learned that innocence and purity are natural qualities belonging to man as God's spiritual offspring, and that no phase of materiality can actually take them away. I came to see in a deep way, which went beyond my previous acceptance of these ideas, that my daughter was ever one with God, and that He would never let her stray -- nor could she stray, being His image.

All fear of the teen-age subculture left, and I soon felt able to express divine Love in an impartial, unconditional love toward her. How comforting it was to have the pain of loss taken away! How cherished I felt to have my thought so tenderly opened to my responsibilities as a mother.

My daughter didn't change overnight. But because I knew that her good and perfect spiritual individuality had no need of changes, it was very natural to see fairly soon the hostility give way to good humor, the secretiveness to openness. Also, the unacceptable social behavior dissolved.

The comforting and mothering of God took me beyond the reassurance so badly needed and so keenly felt in this particular case, to an enlarged understanding of His care for all His children, and the limitless love He has for each of them. This is comfort indeed. And it is always right at hand. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mecies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. II Corinthians 1:3, 4

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