EVEN in today's fast-paced world, most of us still have a deep need to feel loved by God, to know that He really is there to guide us. This very reassurance came to me not long ago.
It was a cold, gray, windy winter day. I wanted time alone to think about some sizable family issues that needed sorting out. So I was walking through our local park. At one end of the park was an art gallery. I decided to stop in and warm up. The featured exhibit was entitled, "Mother & Child. I was surprised to see what appeared to be eighteen or twenty canvases with only a simple circle or oval drawn in the center of each.
As I moved closer, however, I could see that each sketch was not really just an oval, but was actually a beautifully simple line-drawing of a mother curled around her child. The child was so naturally gathered in to the mother that they appeared as one image. Their oneness was so profound that it was easy to feel sure the child could never stray outside the mother's love.
This brought to mind the perpetual "gathering in nature of divine Love, God. I felt a new confidence in God's ability to help me with my own family situation. I had been gathered in by Love.
The Psalmist speaks of the dependability of God's care in these words: "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust. Doesn't this touch that longing each of us has to be loved and known of God? Such love gathers us up out of fear and concern and brings us into the great heart of Love. The Bible tells us over and over of God's willingness and ability to care for mankind.
God's love is at the very core of man's true being, which is spiritual. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "God and man are not the same, but in the order of divine Science, God and man coexist and are eternal. God is the parent Mind, and man is God's spiritual offspring.
As God's man we are the offspring of Spirit. And because we are the offspring of Spirit, God, we are held safe within His spiritual kingdom. And the more we endeavor to live in obedience to God, the more we find we really are like our divine Parent and the more we feel His presence. We feel securely gathered into His purpose and His plan.
Christ Jesus felt the Love of God embracing him all the time. He lived the love of his Father. We, too, as God's image and likeness, can do as Jesus did and prove our spiritual sonship through our actions--through our love for others. Forgiveness, patience, charity, characterize this Christly nature within us.
We are gathered in, not to some abstract power or being but to God, to the divine law of good. This gathering in goes on in our consciousness as we are receptive to it. But even if we aren't yet aware of God's presence in our lives, even if we have not yet learned of our sonship with God, God still holds us close to Him. Our spiritual status is intact, undisturbed. We are never out of our loving Father-Mother's care.
We may not, at this time, understand the depths of God's love for man, but as we endeavor to be obedient, pure, honest, compassionate, we will find divine Love becoming more and more tangible to us. A child may not be able to put into words the freedom and safety a mother's love provides, but he does feel it. And he may not know how very, very important he is to his mother--but he is. You and I are at least as important to God. And that's why He gathers us in.