It is often easier to bear difficulties when we make light of them. Playing it cool or refusing to react to circumstances may certainly provide us with some leverage to cope with a problem. But more than self-control is needed in order for us to find permanent healing solutions.
The Bible reveals that, outside human selfhood, there is indeed a powerful resource for healing, a power that can care for every human need: the power of divine Love, God. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: ''The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.'' n1
n1 Jeremiah 31:3.
The love of God is not unrelated to humanity. God is boundless Love itself, and no situation or challenge is beyond Love's ever-present healing power. In order to pray effectively, we need to acknowledge the presence and might of divine Love and the true nature of man as the likeness of Love - and conform our thoughts and actions to this truth. Mere human optimism does not heal. Neither should we take God's love for granted. Just as a light must be switched on before it can banish darkness, the light of God's love needs to be prayerfully felt and expressed right where we are so that it can penetrate and destroy the illusory shadows of materialistic thinking.
When we pray for humility to let the light of Love be established in thought and expressed through such God-derived qualities as patience, forbearance, compassion, and unselfed love, Love's law of harmony governs our experience.
My wife and I had an opportunity to prove this early one morning after touching down from a long transoceanic flight. We were told that a local airline strike had made it impossible for us to proceed on the final 600-mile leg of our journey. We had had little sleep that night, and I began to feel resentful at the interruption of our journey. But I knew resentment would not resolve the problem. Neither would ice-cold indifference. More than self-control was needed here.
I began to think gratefully of God's ever-present loving care and guidance. I knew that He had not suddenly stopped caring for His image, man, and so He would not leave us out on a limb. No airline strike could eliminate God's love - for anyone. I knew that my prayer was not merely a request for personal convenience. It was an honest resolve to express Love's qualities and to not react with indignation.
The ticket clerk directed us to another section. But we received a similar response. Then, after a moment's reflection, the official called another airline. He learned that they had just scheduled an extra flight that day to our hometown and could take us at no extra cost. We were allocated two of the few remaining seats.
We were grateful for the opportunity to learn how important it is to actively express the love that emanates from God and blesses all. In her book No and Yes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us. Prayer begets an awakened desire to be and do good. It makes new and scientific discoveries of God, of His goodness and power.'' n2
n2 No and Yes, P. 39.
Christ Jesus said, ''As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.'' n3 And he expressed this love throughout his unparalleled mission. He showed that all things are possible through the prayer of love.
n3 John 15:9.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is non occasion of stumbling in him. I John 2:10