'Children of light'

Suicide is never the answer. No matter how dark despair seems or how deep the feeling of loneliness, prayer can reveal the light of God's love for us. This light is a never-failing guide out of hopelessness and into joy.

The Bible assures us, ''Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.'' n1

n1 I Thessalonians 5:5.

Despite even the most convincing evidence to the contrary, man is tenderly cared for as the spiritual image and likeness of his Maker. He is the eternal reflection of irresistible Life, God. Our true selfhood - our only selfhood - is safe, forever embraced by our Father-Mother God.

These are not just words. They are the truth. And we don't have to struggle to make them true, or force a recognition of them into our lives. As we're meekly receptive to the Christ, Truth, it dispels mortality's shadows and fears with the declaration of man's real, immortal nature. The transforming effect of the Christ - which Jesus exemplified - pulls the shroud of sadness from thought and mantles it with light.

''The sweet, sacred sense and permanence of man's unity with his Maker, in Science, illumines our present existence with the ever-presence and power of God , good,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. ''It opens wide the portals of salvation from sin, sickness, and death.'' n2

n2 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 196.

By its very nature, a mortal sense of existence, with its beginnings and endings, its ups and downs, its dead-end materialism, fosters despair. This belief in a life apart from God, Spirit, would present death as inevitable, would even hold it out as an attractive alternative to mortality's pressures, loneliness, and feelings of inadequacy. Such reasoning, however, ultimately leads to nothing more than an exchange of one void for another. Because God is unending Life, the sole source of existence, death is a deception, a hoax. And through prayer that seeks to know Him as Life, we begin to see possibilities and promise, here and now, that we may have never before realized.

What is needed to overcome - and not just cope with - pressured human living is a better understanding of man's true origin. Man is actually the unlabored expression of divine Life and not a mortal born to sin and suffering.

''The parent of all human discord was the Adam-dream, the deep sleep, in which originated the delusion that life and intelligence proceeded from and passed into matter,'' n3 states Mrs. Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

n3 Science and Health, pp. 306-307.

Even if we catch only a fleeting glimpse of our real selfhood, or even if we think we see nothing of it at all, the fact remains that each identity in God's creation is indispensable and has an individual purpose and place - and each is fully satisfied.

It may take great patience and much Christian love to help ourselves or one we love yield to this uplifting spiritual understanding. But we can take comfort in knowing that we are not alone, that we actually are never separate from God. And we can find inspiration and companionship in the Bible during what may seem a lonely battle. In its pages are many accounts of individuals who found that even when alone or frightened, God did not forsake them. These accounts include the story of the prophet Elijah, who was roused to a renewed sense of life by an angel after he had gone out to sit under a juniper tree and die; and of course the supreme example of Christ Jesus, who so thoroughly understood his unity with God that he proved the presence of life where mortality claimed death.

If we are feeling lost, or far from God, we can know that God always embraces us, draws us to Him. ''For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. . . . and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.'' n4

n4 Ezekiel 34:11,12.

We do not have to despair. Our divine heritage of love and light is irrevocable. God has given it to us, and He will never take it away. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The entrance of thy words giveth light. Psalms 119:130. 196. 3 Science and Health, pp. 306-307. 4 Ezekiel 34:11, 12.

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