God is with us. Jesus taught and demonstrated this beyond all question. He affirmed unequivocally, ''The kingdom of God is at hand.'' 1 Healing longstanding sin and aggressive disease, Jesus provided irrefutable evidence of the presence and might of God.
Our creator has never been, and never will be, more present than He is today. Being eternal Love, He is not here one day and absent the next. So He is with us, just as He was with the Christians of the first century.
If God were not with us, discouragement and depression would be a natural response to life's stiff challenges. But His presence, though not apparent to a limited, material sense of things, gives us a rational reason for hopefulness and buoyancy. Since God is truly with us, courage, peace, and intelligence are right at hand. Because God is with us, fear, sickness, and limitation can be overcome.
The fact of His presence constitutes a healing, saving law. The teachings of Christian Science vigorously emphasize and thoroughly explain this law. ''God is everywhere,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, ''and nothing apart from Him is present or has power.'' 2
I found this statement to be tremendously practical after a family reunion a couple of years ago. After we had had two very happy days together, seething hostility erupted among several family members. Everyone went home with heavy hearts, some with tears.
I felt particularly overcome with bitterness and hurt feelings on the ride home. Closing my eyes, I tried to feel God's presence. He seemed so far away. But I persisted in prayer, silencing the mental screams of condemnation and self-righteousness, and striving to glimpse something of God's love, which I had come to know through the study of Christian Science.
Slowly I realized that God was definitely present, enveloping me and each family member in His unending tenderness. In this light, the picture of an angry group of sinful mortals began to fade. I discerned the true, spiritual nature of man as the very image, the expression, of divine Love. The feeling of God's absence was entirely throttled.
Opening my eyes after considerable diligent prayer, I could hardly believe what I saw. A huge, beautiful rainbow spanned the horizon. I remembered that a rainbow had been a sign to Noah of God's covenant with His loved creation. Humbly and happily I thanked God. I was healed of all bitterness, all hurt feelings.
When we arrived home, several apologetic phone calls came from family members. In a remarkably short time, animosity was replaced with appreciation and deepened brotherhood. Each family member was blessed in a unique way by this experience, and subsequent reunions have been very harmonious.
Nothing we can ever say or do has the power to deactivate the law of God's ever-presence. It's available to lift us from the animality of sin, the assertiveness of pain. The Psalmist put it this way: ''So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.'' 3
It's no small task to accept God's ever-presence as a basis for thinking and living. Vigorous prayerful reorientation may be required of one accustomed to meeting life with exclusively personal opinions and reactions. But building from the valid premise that God is with us will enable the individual to meet life with Christlike, healing responses.
1 Mark 1:15. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 473. 3 Psalms 73:22, 23. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandment are truth. Psalm 119:151