A LITTLE boy was being told the Bible story of the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. He looked up puzzled and protested, ``Surely they weren't all children!'' He learned that the word children doesn't have to be taken literally. Sometimes it refers to any group of people who have a common descent. When we speak of one another as ``children of God,'' this means that we share the same spiritual parentage.
What does it really mean to be the child of God? God is Spirit, a just and gracious Father, as Christ Jesus described him. Man, the child of God, is spiritual. In reality we are that man. So is everybody else.Though not apparent to a superficial, materialistic sense of identity, everyone's true selfhood is spiritual and Godlike. And so it's natural to retain childlike qualities that indicate our true being -- innocence, purity, simplicity, trust, and so forth.
A child of God isn't an oldest son or a favorite son or an only son. He isn't any type of mortal or simply a number. He's a distinct, individual expression of the divine nature, unlimited and eternally blessed. So we're not limited to, and need not be labeled by, the qualities we have exhibited most prominently up to now. We aren't typecast in one role and then stuck with it. We can go on developing and expanding all the time, seeing more of our Godlike selfhood come to light.
The more we identify ourselves and everyone else as children of God, the more we are able to discern and prove man's true nature, under the constant care and guidance of God. And we're able as well to begin to see through and overcome some of the limits associated with age. Intelligence and judgment, for example, are not really dependent on age any more than innocence and purity are. Children and adults alike can express these qualities.
Sometimes a child can contribute perception and expectancy that an older person might find hard to equal in a taxing situation. And this extends to confidence in spiritual healing, as I learned myself when I was a pupil in the Christian Science Sunday School. I found that Mary Baker Eddy's1 book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures has a final chapter called ``Fruitage,'' which consists of accounts of healing experienced by people as a result of reading the book and gaining a new concept of God and His parental care for all His creation.
This chapter interested me very much as a youngster, and I used to use it as a sort of storybook, especially if I needed healing myself. One morning I woke up with a childhood malady and wasn't able to go to school. As I lay in bed I began to wonder how long it would be before I felt better -- perhaps a day or even a week, as was considered likely. Then I picked up Science and Health and began to read my favorite chapter.
For the first time I realized that the writers all said that they had read the book, where as I was only reading the testimonies. So I turned back to the book itself, and it opened at this statement: ``Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life.''2 I must have grasped something of the implications of this because I reasoned quite simply, ``Well, I'm governed by God, so I can't be deprived of health and strength for an instant, let alone for a day or a week.''
With that I jumped out of bed and the physical symptoms just disappeared. That was the first time I healed myself without the help of someone older, and it left a vivid impression on me, as well as a certain sense of wonder. Since then I have experienced and witnessed many such healings, and the best ones have always had some element of this childlike simplicity and freshness.
``The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.''3 We're able to demonstrate this truth more and more as we identify ourselves, and all, as spiritual beings, expressing the completeness of the divine nature.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, p. 215. 3Romans 8:16.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. I John 3:1