The Parent we never have to leave

SEATED behind us on the transcontinental jet was a little boy hugging a teddy bear. He wouldn't be separated from it even when the stewardess brought him a tempting lunch tray. The woman with him explained she was employed to take him across the country to visit his father, as his parents were separated. Obviously, leaving his mother, even for a few weeks, was a terrible experience. We reminded ourselves that this small preschooler--and everyone--could feel God's tender love. The Bible teaches that God is always with His children. The Psalmist writes: ``Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? . . . If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.'' 1 From Christ Jesus we learn that God is the Father of all, the divine Parent we never have to leave--and, in fact, can't leave. Jesus' consciousness of his divine Father's presence and strength brought him through the severest trials, including the crucifixion. He taught his disciples a prayer that begins, ``Our Father which art in heaven,'' 2 a prayer that today unites Christians everywhere. This perception of the presence of the Father has strengthened Jesus' followers down through the centuries. We too can feel that presence of our Father, giving us strength and direction to be and do good. In her writings, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, points to the feminine as well as the masculine nature of Deity when she refers to God as our Father-Mother. She writes, ``Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation.'' 3 Although the little boy on the plane was probably too young to know it, obviously human parents can be fallible at times! In contrast, it's comforting to know that our Father-Mother God never lets us down. He's always there, and His love for His creation is unceasing. How often have some of us wished we were still living with our parents and could consult one of them for advice, gratefully shifting some of the burden onto more experienced shoulders? Even as adults, we have never left our divine Parent,

and can still turn to Him for guidance. How do we do this? Through sincere prayer that lets go of personal willfulness and listens for divine help. This help is as near as the receptivity of our thinking. Going quietly to God in prayer can be as simple as a sincere ``Father, show me.'' At times there may be a need for persistent prayer, for unswerving trust in God and constant listening for His thoughts. Prayer may also include a fervent acknowledgment of His absolute control. The answer to our prayer may come as an inner conviction as to which way to go. It may be seen in the resultant unfolding of events. Sometimes a parent has to be away because of business, a relationship trouble, or some other circumstance; sometimes children have to leave their parents for boarding school or summer camp; even the first assignment in the military away from home can be a challenge. The understanding that we are never separated from our Father-Mother God, and that God's care is unfailing, is not merely a pleasant thought at such times--it's a practical help. I lost my father when I was five. Tragic as this was, it caused me to turn more and more to my heavenly Father, often in situations where I would normally have gone to my dad. Over the years this dear Father-Mother has been a wise guide, a strong deterrent, and a comforter and companion. Toward the end of our journey across the country we noticed that the little boy behind us was no longer crying and seemed much happier. We like to think that he too had felt the love of God during that journey. This wonderful unity that exists between God and His children ensures that we will never leave Him and that He will never forsake us. 1 Psalms 139:7, 9, 10. 2 Matthew 6:9. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332.{et

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