Looking for love?

THE author of a current popular book writes: ''Don't miss love. It's an incredible gift.'' n1 Yet sometimes, despite our best efforts, we do miss love. Perhaps we look within ourselves and become discouraged, disappointed, or frustrated with what we see. Maybe we feel we don't have much affection at all to share.

n1 Leo F. Buscaglia, Living, Loving & Learning (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1982), p. 207.

The Bible endorsesthe idea of cherishing oneself and thus being able to cherish others. Christ Jesus, one who loved to perfection, taught, ''Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'' 2

The key to self-appreciation revealed in the Scriptures is not psychological but spiritual. It's the turning of our thoughts to God, the creator of all. Learning more of His infinitely good nature, we glimpse something of our true nature, our God-bestowed individuality.

n2 Matthew 22:39.

In Psalms we read: ''What is man, that thou (God) art mindful of him? . . . Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.'' n3

n3 Psalms 8:45.

Christian Science, in accord with the Bible, reveals that each of us has a flawless spiritual identity. Our actual selfhood, far from being a fallible mortal, is the blessed and beloved offspring of Spirit, God.

Deity has created us to bear witness to Him, to faithfully reflect the divine nature. Our honesty glorifies God as divine Truth; our affection magnifies Him as divine Love; our wisdom honors God as the one divine Mind.

It's not with physical eyes but with spiritual discernment, cultivated through prayer and purification of thought, that we begin to discover our Godlikeness and to shed the materialistic elements of thought that would hide it. Then we gain genuine self-appreciation and have a basis for appreciating others.

The wonder of this spiritually based love is that it never leaves us, so long as we're conscious of divine Love and strive to live in harmony with our true, God-created nature. Our comfort doesn't come so much from human relationships as from actually feeling God's tender care and then sharing that love universally. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains in the Christian Science textbook: ''Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.'' n4

n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 57.

Not too long ago I was forced to gain a deeper understanding of God as the one genuine source of love. I was recently married, and within a couple of months, because of employment demands made on each of us, my husband and I were living in separate cities two hundred miles apart. This unplanned and unwanted separation lasted for nine months. We would see each other occasionally and write often, but it wasn't the best way to begin a marriage.

For me, comfort came by looking higher, turning to divine Love for a feeling of being cherished and cared for. It was necessary for me to establish our home and reestablish my work in a strange city singlehandedly. But I felt the power of God directing, befriending, and encouraging me.

In retrospect, those nine months were not a hardship but were remarkably progressive. It was a time to get better acquainted with my creator and trust Him in tangible, practical ways.

My work flowered during that time in a way I never expected. Talents were developed that had lain dormant. Also, my concept of marriage deepened and matured. I found that by leaning on divine Love, I actually had more to share with my husband when we were permanently reunited. Best of all, I learned that joy and peace have their source in God alone and are not dependent on a particular personal presence.

Yes, it's true that love is an incredible gift-not to be missed. In fact, it's a gift of God. We accept this precious gift by recognizing, then expressing , Love's care. The more we reflect divine Love, the more we see that the gift of love is innate in us, that it's an integral element of our being. DAILY BIBLE VERSE

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. . . . And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. John 4:12, 13, 16k: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1982), p. 207. 2 Matthew 22:39 . 3 Psalms 8:4, 5. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 57.

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