(Written especially for young people)
ALASKA! I couldn't believe it. Dad was going to Alaska for a business trip and he was taking me with him. I was ten and in fifth grade. We flew up in a huge airplane right over the tops of snow-capped mountains. When we landed, it was springtime, but even then it was pretty cold. I wore lots of layers. One afternoon, we flew in a four-seater plane down to Homer, near the Matanuska River. There was a small cemetery and each grave had a little fence around it and a cross inside. One of them caught my attention. It was a very small grave of a child.
It seems pretty sad to think of anyone dying. Especially a child. Or a friend. But there's a story in the Bible, in Second Kings, that tells us something different about death. The story is about a mother whose only son dies suddenly while working outside with his dad. I've always thought his mother loved him very much. Yet she didn't become afraid, cry, or call all her friends and tell them what had happened. Instead, right away, she went to where she knew there was help: to the prophet Elisha, to ``the man of God.'' Really, she was refusing to accept the verdict that said her son, the child of God, of Life, Truth, and Love, could die. As she got close to where Elisha was, he sent a servant to ask her how everything was at home. And she answered, ``It is well'' (4:26).
For a long time I wondered why she would say that. Then one day I thought of the part of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew's Gospel that says, ``And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil'' (6:13). Telling the servant that her child had died would have been believing something that isn't true according to God's government of man and the universe. The belief that God's child, His spiritual image and likeness, can be sick and die is always a lie. So, when she said, ``It is well,'' what she said was true because the spiritual fact is that each child (and adult) in his or her true identity is the spiritual idea of God. God is our Father and Mother. He created us, and He created only good. We reflect His goodness. He is our Life. And that never dies.
Well, the end of the story is pretty terrific. Elisha went back with the mother and went in alone to see the boy, and the boy was completely healed. Everyone was very happy. And the lie that says death is more powerful and real than life was proved to be just that: a lie. As Christ Jesus said, ``Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'' (John 8:32).
Even when people we love do seem to pass on, what we need to know, for us and for them, is what that mother knew: ``It is well.'' God's presence doesn't ever leave them or us or anyone. Life, God, and each of us as God's reflection, keep on living, growing, being real. And, we can't ever lose the certainty of being loved by God. As God's child we're safe. We can keep knowing, ``It is well.''
The rest of my Alaska trip was filled with other reminders of Life. I saw an eclipse of the sun and the northern lights. I drew a picture of them, with lots of different colors. Then we flew back home. I told Mom all about the trip. She liked my pictures and the adventures we'd had.
I especially like a hymn we sing in the Christian Science Sunday School. It's the one where Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, says, ``Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight'' (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 207). It makes me feel safe to know that God is keeping me and all His children under His wing. We're always safe and loved, never alone because God's love is always here.