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Never Far From God

July 13, 1990



SOMETIMES we think that we shouldn't ``bother'' God with our little, everyday problems. As a result, we can end up feeling that God is distant from us, even that He is unreachable. But we don't have to wait for a major disaster to strike before we turn to God. We can begin now to find that God is always at hand. If, for example, we're tempted to be angry when things go wrong, we can stop -- even if just for an instant -- and ask God to help us remain calm. And, whatever the mishap, that turning to God can be the first step in correcting what's wrong.

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James puts it this way: ``Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.'' God is omnipresent; He never moves away from His creation. But sometimes it seems that we need to discover that He is present and cares for each of us.

Prayer is what draws us closer to God. That's because prayer is more than just a way to ask God to do things for us. In fact, each time we pray, we learn something more of what God, Spirit, is and of how much He loves and cares for us. We also learn more about what we are: we learn that our true identity is spiritual and that we are inseparable from God.

Prayer turns us to God, even as it turns us away from anything unlike Him, away from anything that would separate us from His care. And as praying becomes more natural to us, we find that God, divine Love, is right at hand to answer our prayer. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, conveys something of the immediacy of God's presence in a sermon, Message to The Mother Church for 1902. She comments: ``Divine Love waits and pleads to save mankind -- and awaits with warrant and welcome, grace and glory, the earth-weary and heavy-laden who find and point the path to heaven.''

Of course, it's one thing to say God is right here; often it's quite another thing to see in our lives the practical impact of His presence and power. But as we learn to trust Him, we will find that it isn't hard to turn to God for help even when the situation is serious. I found this out when I was on a vacation trip with a friend.

We weren't the world's most expert backpackers, and we were nearly exhausted. It was cold. It was dark. We'd been hiking all day and on into the night, trying to get to the mountain shelter we'd been advised to use. We knew we couldn't go on much farther. And we were very far from any help.

Yet, as we looked around, the constellation Pegasus shone brilliantly in the clear October night. And lights from towns gleamed like stars in the valley below.

My friend and I had been praying as the situation worsened, and more earnestly as the night darkened. But now, looking around as we rested for a moment on the shoulder of the massive mountain, we began to really feel God's presence, near enough, almost, to touch. Nothing had changed in our situation -- which was still very grim -- but we'd trusted God to help us too many times to be afraid He'd let us down now. There's a passage in I Chronicles that describes something of the certainty of God's power and care that I felt at that moment: ``Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.... And in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.'' We hadn't gone very far among the jumble of boulders before we came to a patch of grass that was just big enough for our two sleeping bags. There wasn't room to set up our tent, but we nestled into the hollow and under our tarpaulin as well as we could. It wasn't the warmest or most comfortable night, but we were safe and protected. And the next day we found a more sheltered route down the mountain than the one we'd originally intended to follow.

When we look back on it now, what we both remember most is that tangible presence of God's power and glory. Not only were we kept safe by God, divine Love, but we knew, we actually felt, that we were safe. You, too, can find that God is always present, always ``near enough to touch.''

You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. BIBLE VERSE O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. ...Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. ...How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Psalms 139:1, 7-10, 17, 18