Robbed of your joy?

``I'M depressed,'' the young woman sitting beside me in the airport confided. ``Today I'm leaving my hometown and taking everything I own with me. At least I have a job to go to--I hope--'' she sighed, ``but I'm really not expecting anything good to happen. And I've been depressed for seven years, so I guess that won't change!'' My heart went out to her. Then I gently asked her, ``Do you believe in God?'' ``Oh, yes!'' ``Do you believe that God is good?'' ``Oh, yes!'' ``Do you believe God created evil?'' ``Oh, no!'' ``Then, why can't you expect good? Why can't you expect to be happy?''

I told her that we have a right always to expect good because God is eternal good; that He is both Father and Mother of us all; that God never made His offspring subject to depression, nor is it ever His will that we be deprived of happiness. In proportion as we accept spiritual truths such as these, come to realize that they are truth, we will be able to prove them.

Mary Baker Eddy1 says, ``Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.''2

``Take joy, for example,'' I told my new friend. ``Joy is a spiritual quality; its source is God. And because God is omnipresent, joy is always present, even when we aren't aware of it. We can `hold fast' to joy--not as a superficial exercise in positive thinking but through an understanding that our true selfhood, as God's offspring, is inseparable from God and from the joy He gives.

I shared an experience of my daughter's that illustrates this point. She and another young woman were traveling in Europe on a business trip when I received a telephone call from her. She told me her wallet had been stolen while they were shopping and that she had called her office and they were taking care of all the necessary details and would even reimburse her for the money taken. ``Then why are you calling me?'' I asked.

``Oh, it just seems our whole trip is ruined. Sue was supposed to be watching my purse when it happened, so she feels responsible and is miserable.''

``It sounds to me,'' I told her, ``that the only thing you've been robbed of is your joy!'' I wasn't ignoring the problem, but I did see a deeper need for her to trust God's goodness and to demonstrate it in this instance as she had in the past. She did, then, come to recognize this as another opportunity to prove divine Love's healing presence.

The next morning I received another overseas call--this time from a dear friend in England. His first words were ``I have your daughter's wallet! Where is she?'' I checked her schedule, and it turned out that she was less than a mile from him.

He then explained that someone had found the wallet in a park with everything intact except the cash, and had taken it to a bank. It was then sent to the police. The police found a note in it on which I had written my friend's name and phone number in case my daughter had an opportunity to call him.

To some, it might seem naive in the face of severe physical illness or challenges on the global scene to speak of God's goodness and our right to be joyful; yet this isn't just a pleasant philosophy. Christian Science has proved effective in healing even the most severe physical and moral troubles for over a century. It's not based on blind faith but on an understanding of God's absolute supremacy and man's true nature as His blessed spiritual offspring.

There may be times when sin is weighing us down, sapping our joy. If this is the case, we need to face up to the sin and turn from it. We can't simply pretend it doesn't exist and yet still claim our joy. We need to live in harmony with divine law.

Christ Jesus told his disciples, ``I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.''3 The joy that is rightfully ours can't truly be taken away, because it comes from God. As our lives illustrate our worship of the one God, we have every reason to claim joy as ours--and to feel it! 1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 261. 3John 16:22. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Psalms 16:8,9

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