FORCES threatening family togetherness today may sometimes seem overwhelming. Yet because of God's all-inclusive love for each member in His universal spiritual family, every family on our planet can find divine support and healing. The New Testament of the Bible recounts the story of Abraham and Sarah on their long journey to the Promised Land. The writer tells of Abraham's faith and courage as he obeyed God's call for them to leave their homeland for this new land. Abraham, we're told, ``looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.'' The Bible says further, ``They desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.''1
Aren't many families today on journeys somewhat like Abraham and Sarah's? Actually, this is truly a spiritual journey, wherein each family member can learn more about the strength and richness of his or her relationship to God. For the family, the results of such a journey can be greater marital harmony, better health, a more happy and secure home, as well as more numerous and better opportunities for the children.
Of course, challenges do appear. Yet, just as God ``prepared for them a city,'' so has God provided for us the powerful healing truths we need in order to counter these obstacles.
Where do we find these truths? One can be seen in that story of Abraham, who embraced the idea of one all-powerful God.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper, writes, ``One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, `Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, -- whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.''2
How does this work practically? The individual (if not the entire family!) needs to accept wholeheartedly the spiritual fact of God's oneness. He or she needs to cultivate an unreserved willingness to live by this truth every day. Of course, this includes forsaking other so-called gods.
Perhaps an example from my own experience will help illustrate. At one time our family indulged in more than its share of petty arguments. ``These are harmless,'' I said to myself, and let them pass. But when I noticed the growing concern in our young children's faces, I worked to silence these arguments through prayer.
I reached out to God's love. I knew it embraced man, and that this included me and my family. I saw that we were really not a family of mortals trying to get along. In truth, each one of us was God's spiritual image, having an individual relationship to Him, governed by Him in perfect harmony.
The arguments lessened noticeably. But then I discovered that I was still holding to the idea that I was the victim. That, I realized, was one of the many false gods that needed forsaking. In God's universal spiritual family there are no victims or perpetrators, because His love is ample for all. So I gave up self-righteousness. I knew the thought and life of God's man are God-centered. And I identified myself as that spiritual man.
I wouldn't claim that this insight removed all the liveliness from family discussions. But as a result of this prayer our discussions have grown positive and free from anger. And of course our family every day discovers new opportunities along this line. And it is accurate to say that when the individuals in our family seek solutions to problems through prayer, the best answer always comes.
1Hebrews 11:10, 16. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? Malachi 2:10