A friend and I were talking. She was facing some tough problems and was looking for reassurance. ``God loves you,'' I gently offered. Instantly she responded, ``For years people have been telling me that, but it hasn't helped at all. To me it's like saying, `Too bad you have to suffer, but God loves you anyway.' What good does that do?'' After thinking about it for a moment, I could well appreciate how she must have felt. After all, if you're hurting, and someone says, ``God loves you,'' yet you're sure He cannot or will not heal you, how much comfort are you going to feel? Not much probably. It might even make you angry.
Still, there are plenty of people who believe God cannot help them and yet find it reassuring to hear about His love. But must we simply settle for small measures of comfort? For such a small view of God? Can it be that God's love for man is a pleasant thing to contemplate but an impractical theory when it comes to dealing with the harsh realities of human existence? Not according to what Christ Jesus taught.
Jesus' life and works clearly indicate that God's love for man is a potent, living reality, no mere platitude. Through the language of spiritual healing, the Master showed that his Father, divine Love, is always willing and able to meet human needs, including healing the sick.
God never turns away from His children or withholds His care; but mortals may turn from Him, often without realizing it. For example, if we believe that Spirit, God, is basically powerless on the human scene, that material conditions overrule spirituality and goodness, we're thinking in a way that would shut the door to Christian healing. We have sided with materialism, which denies the very power by which Jesus healed. The result is that we do indeed feel cut off from God. Yet the awful feeling that God can't or won't help us is not an actual condition; it is simply the effect of our having lost sight of what divine Love really is.
St. Paul urged the early Christians, ``Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.''1 We don't have to go along with the world and stay in the mental darkness that denies God. We can instead choose to believe the love God has plainly shown us through His Son.
Jesus' teachings lead us out of the dismal impression that we are mortals beyond God's reach. They point to the way things really are in divine Science and show us that man is actually coexistent with Love as its immortal likeness; that man is spiritual, not material. They show us that he is free from disease and fear, that he is whole. A realization of these spiritual truths brings healing and regeneration here on earth.
Divine Love makes demands on us to exchange outmoded concepts of Deity for a more spiritual sense of Him. One such concept is that although God is Love, He allows His children to suffer for one reason or another. The teachings of Christian Science maintain that since God is Love, evil is neither sent by Him nor allowed to exist in His allness. Sin, disease, and death are understood to be mortal beliefs, not God-sustained realities.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes of the tremendous impact of yielding to this higher understanding of God. ``If mankind would relinquish the belief that God makes sickness, sin, and death,'' she says, ``or makes man capable of suffering on account of this malevolent triad, the foundations of error would be sapped and error's destruction ensured....''2
One night I was ill and couldn't sleep. I prayed, and the thought came, something like this: ``Be willing to admit that because God is Love, He does not allow anyone or anything to suffer. Sin and error alone suffer. Don't identify with them. Man is Spirit's innocent reflection, incapable of experiencing evil.''
It sounded good. But here I was, feeling pretty miserable and being urged to refute the whole thing. Would it do me any good? Then the thought came, ``Love God enough -- be humble enough -- to admit this about His nature.'' With that, the human mind's ``what's in it for me?'' yielded to the simple desire to worship God. I wanted to love and honor Him rather than pain.
So, in spite of physical evidence to the contrary, I affirmed in prayer that God, being all-loving and good, ensures the harmony and health of all He creates. I accepted that He keeps His children safe and at peace. I must admit, I had a happy time doing this, and within moments the illness vanished entirely. I had been touched by the power of Love. And I had learned how to love and understand God a little better.
It's true -- the thing we all hope for is here. It's not worn-out, empty words. God's love heals.
1Romans 12:2. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 357. - NO DAILY BIBLE VERSE TODAY -