Good times, bad times

A Christian Science perspective.

What sometimes takes the bloom off a happy experience is the fear that the joy won’t last. Of course, no particular experience will last. But the joy can – because that didn’t come from the experience itself. It came from God, the Giver of all good.

“My times are in thy hand,” the Bible tells us (Ps. 31:15). While the Psalmist was speaking of protection in battle, I’ve found it helpful to recognize this statement as an assurance that all our times, not just the dangerous ones, are in God’s hand. There’s not a succession of good times and bad times, but only God-controlled time.

Recently I was in a very happy situation. A precious relative was visiting for a couple of weeks, and another equally loved relative living nearby came over every day to share meals and other activities. It was a joyous time. But as the visit was drawing to a close, I began to dread what I saw as the empty hours ahead. While I had many interesting things to do, including getting caught up on certain activities, nothing seemed to come close to equaling the sheer joy of the preceding two weeks.

As I always do when facing fears and other negative feelings, I turned to God in prayer, asking, Where does good come from? I knew that it couldn’t come from variable human circumstances. I reasoned that joy was a quality of divine Mind. In reality it not only was uninfluenced by human circumstances; it also was able to transform the human situation.

I began to realize that allowing oneself to be always governed by God is the way to experience uninterrupted joy. Because God, divine Love, is the source of joy, our visit was evidence of that spiritual joy but was not a creator of it. As a result of this realization, there were no tearful good-byes but anticipation of the next experience of Love’s joyous provision.

There’s great freedom in recognizing that God, not a person or persons, is the source of our good times. This not only assures continuing joy but removes a great burden from human relations and friendships. It’s not one person’s duty to supply another’s happiness. God really is the source of all good, and God is omnipresent and omnipotent. There’s never a moment when we cannot look to God and find our joy. It may come in the form of another person or circumstance, but its source is God, divine Love.

Leaning on almighty and ever-present God to make us happy takes a burden off friends and relatives. And it often presents opportunities to enrich someone else’s life.

In reality there aren’t good times followed by bad times, or even bad times replaced with good. As Mary Baker Eddy put it in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “That only is real which reflects God” (p. 478). It’s important to remember this even when giving gratitude for an instance of evil overcome. Sometimes a weary sigh, “Oh, I’m so glad that’s over,” leaves the door open to a repetition of some unhappy circumstance. Recognizing that all cause and effect come from God enables us to slam the door on an evil circumstance and not allow its return.

In God there are no bad times, and remembering this, we can refuse their entrance into our lives. We can recognize the supremacy of good as permanent and the utter powerlessness of evil.

The fact that all our times are in God’s hand means that evil actually has no cause and no effect, no existence in God’s government and creation. A verse from a loved hymn says this:

Lord, my times are in Thy hand:
All my sanguine hopes have planned,
To Thy wisdom I resign,
And would mold my will to Thine.
(Josiah Conder, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 46)

As we are obedient to God’s will, we can feel the joy that our times truly are in God’s hand.

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