FOR several weeks a close relative called me frequently, expressing deep despair about her life. In my efforts to help her regain her joy and inspiration, I talked to her about God's love for man, thinking if I could get through to her the depression would lift. But each time, she became so upset that we couldn't continue the conversation. One day she simply hung up, and I realized that my endless talking was actually a hindrance to this relative's gaining peace. Yearning to know what I could do to help, I recalled that Christ Jesus often encountered people in mental or physical distress who were unable to lift themselves out of their troubles. There wasthe man from the country of the Gadarenes, possessed with many devils (Mark5:1-15); the woman suffering with an issue of blood for twelve years (Matt. 9:20-22); the nobleman's son who lay dying atCapernaum (John 4:46-53), and many others. Jesus often went to the hillsides or to the mountaintop and sometimes spent all night in prayer. His constant communion with God enabled him to free humanity from enslaving conditions. This statement of Jesus' points clearly to how he was able to accomplish his remarkable healings: ``As I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.''1
Thinking about the time Jesus spent listening to what God was revealing to him, I was especially impressed with how little he said to those he healed. He asked the Gadarene his name after commanding that the devils come out of him. Tenderly regarding the woman with the issue of blood, he counseled her to be of good comfort, saying that her faith had restored her. And rebuking the nobleman's desire for a visible sign as a precondition for faith, Jesus told him to go home, that his son would live.
It became clear to me from such examples that no depression, however deep or dark, can resist Christ's compelling message of redemption and healing. I saw, too, that it isn't words that inspire and heal but a quiet, steadfast stillness -- a deep communion with God -- that allows Christ to be heard.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in the Christian Science textbook, ``Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.''2 And describing how we can follow Jesus' example, she says, ``The best spiritual type of Christly method for uplifting human thought and imparting divine Truth, is stationary power, stillness, and strength; and when this spiritual ideal is made our own, it becomes the model for human action.''3 I resolved to demonstrate this ``Christly method'' for imparting Truth.
After this, each time my relative called, I spoke briefly and comfortingly, while really trying to listen wholeheartedly to what God was showing me about the true nature of man as His child, as His blessed spiritual offspring. And I rejoiced that Christ was comforting, guiding, and inspiring her, too, in a way that she could best understand. When our conversations ended, I prayed to understand better that God was her divine Parent and that she was in His care.
One day not too long after this my relative called and her voice was full of joy. As she talked, I could tell from her conversation that the depression had lifted and she was free. And this proved to be so.
And I was grateful for the lesson I had learned. When someone close to us wrestles with doubt or despair, we may find that our efforts to reason are to no avail. But if we are willing to draw close to God ourselves and maintain that quiet stillness that welcomes in the Christ, we can trust that others, too, will discover the inspiration and joy that naturally belong to God's man.
1John 5:30. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332. 3Retrospection and Introspection, p. 93.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. I Corinthians 2:4