HAVE you ever felt stripped of the familiar, the supportive, of that which has given direction, definition, and significance to your life? Loss of home, loved one, employment, health -- any of these could leave us feeling frightened, alone. Yet loss can become an opportunity to recognize ourselves as clothed in God's goodness. During that trial unparalleled in human history -- the crucifixion -- Christ Jesus was repeatedly stripped of all human support and substance, yet ultimately clothed in the riches of God's love. First, in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus felt the loss of his disciples' support. He said to them, ``My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.''1 The disciples slept.
Second, he was deprived of his freedom. He was arrested and finally taken before the Roman authorities. There he endured the cruel mockery of the soldiers as they hailed him with a crown of thorns. Finally, crucified, he appeared to be deprived of life itself.
Yet he endured the loss of human support and freedom, the soldiers' mockery, the crucifixion, ``that [we] might have life, and that [we] might have it more abundantly.''2 He endured these so that we might know our Father's great love for us, a love so practically proved in the resurrection of His Son. We all share in that resurrection as ``heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.''3
Whatever loss we may have suffered, we can come to see ourselves as clothed in God's goodness. If we've lost a loved one and feel bereft of human comfort, we can turn in prayer to our Father, God, and feel His loving embrace, giving us strength and courage. Then we'll more readily see new evidence of His constant provision for His creation.
Restoration of health through the power of God is also possible. We don't have simply to endure some malady. We take steps toward healing when we admit wholeheartedly that God is supreme, yield to His care, and trust in the reality of our spiritual wholeness as the very likeness of our creator. Nothing need keep us from doing our Father's will. God's will carries all the power of His loving law to ensure the reign of harmony in our lives. Certainly this was proved in Jesus' restoration to wholeness and freedom after his crucifixion.
If loss or change of employment threatens humiliation, we have our Master's lead to follow. Our dignity is found in the reality of our identity as children of our Father-Mother God. Man, as the offspring of God, is never less than worthy and satisfied, is never inactive, never unemployed, and even one clear glimpse of this truth will begin to open the way to whatever adjustment may be necessary.
Being stripped of that which has given comfort and definition to our lives may be painful, frightening. But when faced with adversity, would we run from the promise of reconciliation to God that it affords us? Nothing can ever deprive us of our status as children of God. So when we find our comfort in our relationship to God, we've found it for good! Our Father-Mother's love for us is unwavering and perfectly adaptable to whatever circumstances we face.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy4 we read: ``The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love. Then we begin to learn Life in divine Science. Without this process of weaning, `Canst thou by searching find out God?'''5
We would do well to resist discouragement or bitterness when faced with adversity. In its midst, as well as in times of joy, God is our tender, ever-caring, sustaining Parent. Humbly accepting this fact, discerning it in prayer and rejoicing in it, we'll be able to prove His care and discover ourselves not stripped, but rather clothed in His goodness.
1Matthew 26:38. 2John 10:10. 3Romans 8:17. 4The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 5Science and Health, p. 322.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.... Isaiah 61:10