My husband and I became urban gardeners for the first time last summer. Our best crop was one we had very little to do with. The previous owners of our plot in the community garden had planted a strawberry patch. Even as we labored to till the hard ground and plant rows of seeds, we were greeted by ripe, luscious strawberries. This welcome spring crop went a long way to encourage us in our horticultural venture.
To me, those unearned strawberries illustrated, in a sense, the love of God. His love is showering on us at all times, regardless of our deservedness. Divine Love is a constant source of comfort and healing, available to everyone, everywhere.
The Bible tells us that we reap what we sow. n1 And yet the Scriptures also point to God's unconditional love. In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ Jesus said: ''Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?'' n2
n1 See Galatians 6:7,8.
n2 Matthew 6:26.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, expresses a similar sentiment. In Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm she writes, referring to God: ''Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.' '' n3
n3 Science and Health, p. 13.
This message of God's constant love, regardless of our worthiness, is not a license for laziness, mediocrity, or wrongdoing. Rather, it lifts us to greater usefulness by offering comfort when we may feel we least deserve it. It's the nature of divine Love to ceaselessly love us - though sin always punishes itself , because it is opposed to the divine law of harmony.
One of the central themes of Christianity is the love of God made manifest to humanity through the life of Christ Jesus. As John tells us: ''In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.'' n4
n4 I John 4:9,10.
Again and again in the Bible we see how Jesus ministered to those considered unworthy of God's love. To the woman of Samaria, living in adultery, he offered the living water of Christliness. To the ten lepers he gave health, freedom, purity. Even to those who attempted to kill him, Jesus gave forgiveness.
Our ability to feel the love of God depends on our willingness to accept this gift of grace. Are we humble enough to accept the ever-presence of God, divine Love? Are we receptive to such an astounding gift?
Our humility and receptivity hinge on spiritual sense - our ability to discern the things of Spirit. Divine Love is not tangible to our five physical senses, for Love is Spirit. We know the presence of God's love through spiritual intuition, spiritual discernment.
There was one particular time when I felt especially unworthy and found myself lifted into a perception of Love's care. Ironically, this was a time when I had made a strong commitment to study the Bible, and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Healthm, more carefully, and to live these teachings more faithfully. Just at that point I felt guilt overwhelm me, as if I were totally undeserving of making this progress.
I asked a Christian Science practitioner for help. This is someone devoted to healing through prayer alone, striving to follow Jesus' example. The practitioner spoke briefly of God's constant love and then agreed to pray for me. In a few days I felt the fog of despondency lift and was ready to proceed with the work before me. Through spiritual sense I was awakened to the presence of Spirit, Love, that had been there all along.
God richly blesses His creation without interruption. Such is the nature of His love. Our need is to yield humbly to that fact and reap the benefits. DAILY BIBLE VERSE
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:17,18