WHEN a fellow employee confided to me that her fiance had broken their engagement, I yearned to comfort her. What could I do or say that would really help her?
As I prayed for guidance, I remembered a Bible verse. It's from Psalms: ``Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning'' (30:5). My friend was impressed by how relevant this verse was to her. For the next two weeks I found a verse each day for her with a message relating to joy, peace, happiness. Gratefully she acknowledged that as she pondered these Bible passages, her composure returned.
Why does the Bible inspire mankind? Taken literally, the Scriptures encompass thousands of years of human history. But this material record is not the power that changes people's lives. The power that regenerates and heals is spiritual; it is God's Word. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``The central fact of the Bible is the superiority of spiritual over physical power'' (p. 131).
From Genesis to Revelation, God's inspired Word can be found shining through the narrative, im-parting the holy influence of Spirit over matter. And Christ Jesus, ``the author and finisher of our faith,'' as the Bible describes him (Hebrews 12:2), proved for all time to come that understanding and obeying God's Word heal sickness and sin and even overcome death.
My family cherished the Scriptures. When I was a child, the Bible was our authority. But I didn't understand the value of turning to it for help until years later. Only after the prayer of a college roommate healed me of influenza did I begin a serious, daily study of the Bible, along with Science and Health. This key to the Scriptures enriched my understanding of the Bible; it changed my concept of the Scriptures forever.
No longer could I identify myself as a frail mortal originating in dust. Through my study of the first chapter of Genesis, which I had formerly ignored, I began to perceive the true history of creation. I learned that man--and that means me, and you, and everyone--is created in the image and likeness of God, Spirit. Therefore, man is in reality a spiritual idea, dependent solely on God for life, health, intelligence, joy. These do not depend on another person, but are the natural outcome of thinking pure , good thoughts, of striving to express God in word and deed. This endeavor is rewarded, as the Bible promises in Ecclesiastes: ``For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy'' (2:26). In her sermon titled Christian Healing, Mrs. Eddy also emphasizes the importance of entertaining good, God-inspired, thoughts. She points out: ``If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy'' (p. 10).
Profoundly moved by the Bible promises concerning joy and peace, my friend continued to read and think about them frequently. She literally began to argue more strongly for joy than for sorrow. In time, her former fiance regretted his decision, and they are now happily married.
Although the form in which joy comes into our lives may not always be what we anticipate, spiritual or Bible-based thinking does result in harmony. Good thoughts also benefit those we think about and at the same time prove the superiority of spiritual power over every form of matter.