THE desire to love and be loved is natural to us, because man is the offspring of God, of divine Love itself. This desire need not go unfulfilled. Each of us can come to feel Love's ministering and comforting as surely as a tired, hungry child feels and enjoys the care of a loving parent. Even the most loving human parents may be tempted to think that the needs they must meet are more than they can provide for, or that no matter how much they love, it may not be enough. But divine Love is everyone's true Parent and an inexhaustible source of healing love.
One time, when a member of my family was ill, I turned to God in prayer. As a family of Christian Scientists, striving to follow the example of Christ Jesus, we have chosen prayer as our most reliable form of help. And we felt greatly strengthened by the inspiration we were gaining through prayer. Yet the symptoms did not yield and seemed more stubborn than before.
Caring for this family member was not a burden to me but a joy, because I dearly love him. Nonetheless, after some nights with little sleep I began to feel tired and worn-out and even a little fearful that my prayers might not be effective.
Discouraging thoughts tempted me, such as: ``Yes, you love him, but maybe your love isn't unselfish enough. God is Love, but maybe you don't understand that well enough.'' Then fear of inadequacy began to plague me. I telephoned a Christian Science practitioner and asked for some renewed inspiration and support through prayer, and he joyfully agreed to help.
As I continued to care for my relative, a Bible verse kept coming to me over and over: ``There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.'' 1 The word perfect stood out to me. Love was what I was trying to express, but I was afraid of not being able to love perfectly. As I kept considering the verse, however, I realized that the Biblical writer was not talking about his own or another person's love, but about God. God is Love--perfect Love--and of course there can be no fear in God! This relates to a statement by Mary Baker Eddy2 in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death.'' 3
I caught a glimpse of the spiritual fact of divine Love's allness and perfection. Certainly God loved me and my family, and all His children, perfectly! And certainly the allness of His love precluded sickness and fear. There could be no sickness or fear in perfect, divine Love or in Love's spiritual image, man.
It's hard to describe a special moment of inspiration when you see a spiritual idea clearly--it's so wonderful that words seem inadequate. But what I recognized and felt of perfect Love gave me such a feeling of calm and security, of spiritual power.
Within just a few minutes, I realized that the aggressive symptoms confronting my dear relative had simply vanished, and within a couple of hours he was free from even the slightest effect of illness--completely healed.
The experience has remained a landmark for me, a lesson about the need to yield to a higher concept of love. God Himself is perfect, infinite Love, and man is the outcome of Love, without limits or frailties. This spiritual truth is a sure basis for healing.
1 I John 4:18. 2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3 Science and Health, p. 567. DAILY BIBLE VERSE How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings . . . With thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.