Before We Call

GOD is instant in His love for His children--quicker than the rapid pace of human reasoning and events, quicker and more powerful even than our emotions.

I have a friend who learned this once in dramatic fashion. She had been feeling low--very low--one winter. She had called a friend for support and prayer during one critical time, but the friend, while responding compassionately on the telephone, wasn't free to help her at that point. Then, in one very bad moment, my friend plugged all the passages to outside air in her kitchen, turned the gas on in her stove, and lay down on the floor, intending to take her own life. But as she grew drowsy, the telephone rang. It was the friend she had earlier asked for help.

``Are you all right?'' the friend asked in a way that made her question more of a statement than an inquiry. My friend, roused a bit from the drowsiness, told her what she had done.

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``Well, dear, just turn off that gas and open the windows!'' And that was the end of it. No lectures. No cries of alarm. Just an immediate, loving command. And that was the end of any such inclination on the part of my friend.

Doesn't such a powerful experience reinforce what the Bible teaches about the immediacy of God's love? ``Before they call,'' we read in Isaiah, ``I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear'' (65:24).

A little reasoning about the nature of God shows how His love can be so close to us, so immediate in our lives. The Bible tells us that He is divine Love itself. He is not just loving; He is Love. Love is His nature, His entire being. And since God is infinite Spirit, divine Love exists and operates completely apart from a human or material origin--although it uplifts and blesses human lives and is to be expressed by each one of us.

The fact that God is infinite Spirit means that everything about His nature and being is in force at every place and at all times. I remember how strong and capable my dad was on the farm where I grew up. It seemed as if he could be in ten places at once--fixing fences, feeding stock, playing ball with me, helping with dinner, weeding the garden. But even Dad had his limits. Not so with the infinite God. There is no limit to His love.

Remember the time in Christ Jesus' day when friends sought him out with the news that his dear friend Lazarus lay at home, fatally ill? Jesus didn't rush to Lazarus, though he did go to him. Can't we infer that Jesus knew that God's caring love was already fully in force right where Lazarus was? And, John's Gospel records, Lazarus was restored to life (see chap. 11).

God's ministering love deserves our constant remembrance. It touches every corner of our lives. It flows from the nature of God as infinite, all-powerful good. The Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, includes a description of God in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, ``God. The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence'' (p. 587).

It is impossible to overestimate the ability of God to preserve His own children. Of course, we do have our part, too. We need to respond. In my friend's case, she obeyed when her friend told her to rise, turn off the gas, and open the windows. Actually, she was acting in response to an obvious outpouring of God's tender love meeting her immediate need.

Divine Love forever governs us. And our awareness of this fact rouses us so that we respond to His presence in our daily affairs, expressing His love more fully and consistently. This brings healing and peace.

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