EVEN when life is fraught with burdens or threatened by illness, one can rejoice.
I know sometimes it seems as if there is nothing to be happy about. We may feel we have a right to feel angry or even martyred when life gets tough. But there is a way to be lifted out of a heavy sense of living. We need to recognize that while there may be some temporary sort of sick satisfaction from wallowing in misery, this doesn't ever bring solutions.
To break the cycle, we need to get our thoughts off ourselves. And to do this most effectively we need to lift consciousness to God. But how can we do this when we feel downhearted, grieved, or physically ill?
Years ago, I lay awake one night overcome with dejection. I felt so unloved and left out. Through the curtains I saw a streetlight shining steadfastly through the darkness. I thought this light could be symbolic of God's light, which is always present to uplift and save. Human love may desert and disappoint, but God and His Christ are always by our side. I began to think of the healings in the Bible. I recognized that the same God that was present then is present now. This influx of light into my consciousness roused me right out of depression. I began to see things in a whole new way. I felt God's love. Resolutions to my problems followed.
The same sense of God's presence that enabled Jesus to rise from his tomb is present right now, in each man's consciousness, ready to uplift and buoy thought. The Christ is the outstretched arm of God, bringing light in the midst of darkness, hope where none seems present, and joy where sorrow is flourishing.
We can always rejoice that God is good and that He loves each one of us. Joy is of God. We are God's children, and have a divine right to express His joy in a satisfying way in daily life. Joy is one of the qualities that make up your very identity.
Empty, vacuous lightheartedness is not genuine joy. Neither does sarcasm or mean-spiritedness bring real happiness. To be lasting, joy must have its roots in that which is good. To recognize joy as a spiritual quality is to understand that it is out of the reach of human wrath or hatred. A spiritual quality can never be attacked, mutated, or taken from man; it is dependent only upon God's influence in our lives, and so nothing anyone else says or does can ever rob us of joy. In proportion to our devotion of thought to knowing more of God, we must find joy to be more constant.
Consider this, from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Who that has felt the loss of human peace has not gained stronger desires for spiritual joy? The aspiration after heavenly good comes even before we discover what belongs to wisdom and Love. The loss of earthly hopes and pleasures brightens the ascending path of many a heart. The pains of sense quickly inform us that the pleasures of sense are mortal and that joy is spiritual'' (p. 265). This was written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science.
Starting with the premise that God is All and that His creation is perfect-a fact that is the basis of Christian healing and that was the foundation of the healing acts of Christ Jesus-gives anyone a good foundation for healing discord. Sometimes, rejoicing that man is spiritual is the very catalyst that lifts the cloud of sorrow. We can no more be separated from the qualities of God, such as health, harmony, wisdom, joy, than we can be parted from God. Understanding these spiritual facts brings inevitable healing. This confirms the fact that we have much to rejoice in!
In the Bible, there is a psalm written to thank the Lord for His goodness. Two verses stand out to me as verses to keep continually in our hearts: ''Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually'' (I Chronicles 16:10, 11).
Real healing of joylessness does not come about by replacing one state of human thought with another. Healing results from a change of consciousness from a material to a spiritual basis. It stems from the fact that you and I have genuine, complete, and perfect spiritual identities. This recognition brings the smile of joy.