WHEN they were boys, my husband and his friends loved to spend time during their school holidays helping a neighboring farmer with the haymaking, working hard alongside the men. At lunchtime the farmer's wife would bring food to them. On one such occasion, when the time came to share a delicious apple pie, the farmer, a bluff Yorkshireman, was heard to say, ``No pie for t'lads'' -- and no pie is exactly what they got! This became one of those family sayings. And when our children were growing up and I would make apple pie, they, too, would sometimes hear a voice say, ``No pie for t'lads.'' Secure in the knowledge that the saying had become a family joke, they laughed along. And, they always got their pie.
Sometimes, however, we may feel that our experience is no joke, but filled with deprivation and unfairness. Indeed, from the standpoint of a large part of humanity this is often the case. But a sure way out of lovelessness and hardship comes when we begin to learn more of the nature of God as divine Love.
We have good reason for using Love as a name for God. In the Bible, John writes ``God is love.''1 And over and over again in his ministry Christ Jesus gave convincing proof of God's, Love's, provision for His children in healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and meeting the need for tax money. With the utmost compassion Jesus told his listeners, ``Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.''2
An understanding of the true nature of Love brings good into our experience. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, `Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.'''3 Everyone! That includes you and me and all.
Divine Love is infinite. It is tenderly compassionate, limitless in scope, always equal to the demands made upon it. The Love that is God does not assess human problems, grading them for severity, urgency, and so on, and then dole out a portion merely adequate to meet the need. No, Love is always Love, incapable of favoritism or limitation.
Love cannot be apportioned or divided up, judging some worthy of much, while giving others a pittance or passing over them altogether. Love's outpouring is unconditional. It is always right where we are, the one constant, unfailing source of all good. Love is always active in the business of being Love. It is impossible to measure Love (except as infinity), to weigh it, contain it, or hoard it. Then how, you may ask, are we to experience it?
We can start by humbly acknowledging Love's presence and power right where we are. We can become willing to yield quietly to Love's all-embracing warmth and comfort. And we need to relinquish from our own thinking the hatred, destructive criticism, and so on that becloud our awareness of the Love and goodness that are always at hand.
I recall an occasion when, after I had endured a long period of severe criticism and interference, an incident occurred that was trivial in itself, but which I felt was the last straw. I was angry and ready to have a showdown.
Fortunately I was alone for a few moments. I really turned to God and prayed, ``Father, how can I love in these circumstances?'' Immediately, almost like a slow-motion replay, I saw the incident again more clearly and realized that this time the other person was not at fault -- I had misunderstood. If I had reacted to the incident, it could only have led to more resentment, and I would have been totally in the wrong.
Gratefully I acknowledged that it was only when I was willing to let Love guide me that I saw events clearly. This was the start of a happier relationship between us. It was not achieved overnight, but resentment, bitterness, and criticism gradually and inevitably yielded to the warmth of a better understanding of Love. This Love had always been there, it was always available, and it always will be, for Love is God, and God is ever present and irresistible.
The farmer who refused to share the apple pie with his young workers may have had a distance to go in his understanding of what Love is all about -- we all have. But we can begin to love right now, and our lives will surely be blessed.
1I John 4:16. 2Luke 12:32. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 13.
BIBLE VERSE: He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.... And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:...being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. II Corinthians 9:6, 8, 11