When you can't get there to help
A Christian Science perspective on daily life
Shortly after my husband and I and our young family were transferred halfway around the world, a dear friend became seriously ill. And then my father also became ill.
I telephoned every day, but it was frustrating to be so far away. I felt I could be of real help if I could just get to them. I searched airline schedules and pondered the needs of my family, and there was simply no way to make the trip. Feeling pretty helpless, I asked in earnest prayer what I could do.
As I prayed to God who I know to be divine Love itself, I began to listen for some peaceful, quieting thoughts. These thoughts I've learned to call angels. Mary Baker Eddy, who established this newspaper in 1908, wrote that angels, God's messages, "deliver us from the depths" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 567).
One of the thoughts, or angels, that occurred to me was that the God with whom I was communing just then was also present and available to my dad and my friend. Another was that all the power to help and heal was in God, not in me. His presence brings hope and help to all. It was not the physical presence of a loved one, but the ever-present love of God that would truly restore harmony and health, and free my loved ones from the bonds of sickness.
Mrs. Eddy brought out this very point when she described the touch of an angel: "... it is not the clasping of hands, nor a loved person present; it is more than this: it is a spiritual idea that lights your path!" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 306).
A Bible scene illustrates this activity of angels. A woman named Hagar, along with her son, had been sent away from their home and into the desert. When the water they had with them was gone, Hagar was sure they would perish. In fact, she put her son under some shade a distance from her so she wouldn't have to see him suffer. As she wept, an angel came to her, consoled her, assured her that God knew the boy's need, and pointed out a well not too far away. They were both saved (see Gen. 21:9-21).
More than once during Jesus' healing ministry, there was a demand on him to be in two places at the same time. He handled these situations with grace and confidence that must have come from knowing that God was wherever a need appeared.
Jesus knew God was the source of healing. When a centurion requested that Jesus heal his servant who was dying, Jesus agreed to go, but that servant was some distance away. Even before Jesus arrived at the home, word reached Jesus that the servant was healed (see Luke 7:2-10).
Like Jesus, we can have confidence and trust that God is everywhere, being God.
A comforting hymn promises:
O longing hearts that wait on God
Through all the world so wide;
He knows the angels that you need,
And sends them to your side,
To comfort, guard and guide."
(Violet Hay, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 9)
The caring God, who tends to our needs, quiets the anxiousness that insists, "if I don't do it..." and teaches us that we can expect angels to bring us and our loved ones through trials.
I stayed in touch with Dad and my friend and with the angels that delivered my heart from anxiousness and fear. Within a few days, both made rapid progress, and within weeks, each was back up and completely healed.
When I visited several months later, the visits were active, happy ones. I was glad they were both well. I was even happier to attribute their freedom to an all-powerful, everywhere-present God.
The Lord watch between me
and thee, when we are absent
one from another.