'After this, I can't believe in God . . .'
Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.
I heard a high-school student say this on the TV news. He was talking about the death of his friends in the explosion of TWA Flight 800 on July 17. Many people turned to help and comfort those who had been touched by this tragedy.
But the loss of our faith in God would be the greatest tragedy. Christ Jesus, the Christian Saviour, showed how to face and master the temptation to disbelieve in God. Even when he faced his own crucifixion, Jesus prayed. And the Bible says, "Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:44).
Anyone can take this as an example. When we're faced with despair, we can pray. Just to have a tiny grain of faith that there are answers to be found helps. If we are earnest in seeking them, and meek in listening for and following every sound idea that comes, we will learn that God does indeed exist, is present with us, and can be trusted to show His love to us. We not only will believe more intelligently in God as a result; we also will understand Him better, as friend and loving Parent.
When Jesus was questioned about divorce, he asked what provision the Hebrew lawgiver Moses had made for it. Told that Moses permitted it, Jesus replied, according to J. B. Phillips, "Moses gave you that commandment . . . because you know so little of the meaning of love" (Mark 10:4). If we are tempted to divorce ourselves from believing in God, it is because we know so little the meaning of God who is Love itself -- divine Love. The demand is not for us to turn away from Him, but to turn more earnestly toward Him.
People have lived according to the example Jesus set, and found help as a result. Now, Jesus promised his disciples at his last supper before the tragedy of his crucifixion, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter . . . . he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." This is from the book of John in the Bible (14:16, 26), a promise that stands for everyone today, including that distraught young man.
Jesus taught and proved that God is Life. Jesus came to bring the world a greater understanding of our inseparability from God, eternal Life.
When my mother died, I turned to God and earnestly prayed that He show me what I needed to know. I was led to open the Bible to read of the Apostle Peter's reviving a woman named Dorcas, who had died (see Acts 9:36-41). As I finished the last verse of the account, "And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up . . . and . . . presented her alive," I heard myself say aloud, "God, I may not understand enough to raise Mother, but I do understand enough to present her to our family and friends as still alive in You."
And so I did. Not only was I comforted by feeling God's presence in that assurance of my mother's immortality; I could and did comfort other relatives, including her sister and grandchildren. Never had I felt closer to her.
I was then led directly to this correlative sentence in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. On page 261 I read this: "Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will rise to the spiritual consciousness of being, even as the bird which has burst from the egg and preens its wings for a skyward flight." That was comforting. It provided encouragement in trusting my deeper knowledge of God as the Life of each one of us. It continues to strengthen me now. And it can comfort anyone who seeks to know God.
Tragedies in human existence dispute God's loving presence. But they do not change eternal facts. Yes, there is a God, and He is Life itself. Turning to the realities of that great fact, we can begin to see and feel their healing power.
*You can find more articles discussing prayer in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.