THE Boston Marathon runners pass my apartment a few miles from the finish line. Each year I'm moved, not only by the efforts of participants but by the actions of the spectators as well. The crowd cheers when the first competitor sweeps by. They greet the twentieth with the same joy and fervor. An hour later they're still encouraging and praising scores of runners now streaming by in an unbroken mass of color and sweat. But they applaud the one who limps by, too, and those who walk.
Clearly, the viewers aren't recognizing the competitors for their placement or appearance! They're acknowledging their courage, effort, and aspirations. They want them to succeed in completing this arduous race. And they hope their own enthusiasm will offer a helpful boost.
Watching the spectators' uncritical support, I was reminded of a passage in Luke's Gospel where Christ Jesus said: "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
God is our Father. His thoughts toward us are never censorious, but always unconditionally loving. Sometimes when we're facing challenges, it feels as though we're limping along in some never-ending marathon. But if hundreds of viewers can be so supportive of competitors they don't even know, how much more loving must God be toward His wholly spiritual creation, man?
God's tender love is always there for us. It's something we can count on. God's love isn't earned by striving to be better than someone else. God loves us because of who we really are: His own precious children, His image and likeness--wholly spiritual. And He loves us because of who He is: divine Love itself, which cannot do or be anything but love.
A wonderfully significant thing about God's love is that it does far more than just encourage us. God is not confined to the role of benevolent onlooker. God is the very source of strength, goodness, and wisdom. He is divine Principle. The more we acknowledge His tender presence, the more aware of, and obedient to, His direction we become. His divine love governs, guides, corrects, and gives moral strength to our efforts.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, prayed and studied to understand the Bible's spiritual message. She saw that since Love is the very nature of God, He must always be loving. And as man is the object of God's love, we are constantly embraced in this love, no matter what may appear to be going on. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. This doesn't condone wrongdoing. Instead it pr ovides a reliable starting point for turning from wrong. It offers a basis for learning to express more of the Father's tender, principled nature. And it points to the infinitude of His love. No one is left out.
Trusting that God cares for us is a vital step in hearing His direction, in finding solutions to challenges. It's an important step in helping us out of the mire of past mistakes. A solution to every problem is found in divine Principle. And because God is Principle and Love, He governs His creation in a way that blesses all. God guides, guards, and heals. There is nothing that can separate you from your Father's tender embrace.