A FRIEND of mine recently remarked how happy she was to have begun reading the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. She said, ''It makes me feel right about God in my heart.'' She explained that for many years she had loved God and known within her heart that God was really the source of all the good that came to her. But she didn't feel right about what she thought was her relationship with Him.
For many years she had thought of God as being separate from her. She felt she was not quite good enough to get close to Him, even though she was living a good and religious life and loved the Bible. She always felt as if she were somehow guilty, a sinner. Her face beamed as she added: ''Now I know Him better because of that book. I don't feel guilty any more. And I am understanding the Bible better now, too.'' She felt worthy of God's love for her because of what she was learning in Science and Health, the book Mrs. Eddy wrote to share her discovery of Christian Science.
Feeling right about God in our hearts is important to all of us. When we feel right in our heart about God, we have confidence in our ability to live up to our highest potential. Knowing that now and forever we are God's loved children frees us from feelings of unworthiness, doubt, fear, limitation. The Bible tells us in First John, ''Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is'' (3:2). ''We shall be like him''! How freeing this understanding is to each of us, sons and daughters alike. We understand that we are really spiritual, like God, who is Spirit, instead of believing that we are limited, guilt-ridden mortals.
Christ Jesus taught all mankind about this precious relationship. He said, Matthew's Gospel records, ''Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect'' (5:48). The nowness of this relationship with God melts away aloneness and inadequacy. We are not hopelessly burdened mortals perpetually waiting for postponed good. We are now the sons and daughters God knows and loves. Here and now is God's kingdom, where He reigns supreme and where He provides all good for us. As we recognize this truth, thoughts of being separated from God begin to disappear. The truth is, we are never outside of His presence or loving care. As His creation, each one of us is, in reality, good, perfect, and pure, the way He made us. We are all worthy of His love for us. It is our God-given right to feel this ever-present love wherever we are and to know that we deserve it. This is feeling right with God in our hearts.
My friend said she used to believe that her prayer was not good enough to be heard directly by God. Heartfelt, sincere prayer offered to God, no matter how simple, is always right and adequate in God's eyes. Science and Health explains, ''What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds'' (p. 4). Praying this way, our hearts are indeed made right with God.
My friend has been learning to feel the confidence that comes from trusting God wholeheartedly. This confidence comes from feeling so close to God that we know He knows us, loves us, and hears our prayers. I am seeing the great happiness her closeness to God is bringing to her life. I love to hear her describe the happiness it is bringing to her family. One by one, each family member is finding a new concept of God and of himself through the book, Science and Health. Others have also been noticing the wonderful changes it is bringing to her life and that of her family.
Peace of mind. Comfort. Joy. Happiness. These are the results of finding our true relation to God--of feeling right with Him in our hearts. That relationship of love, not guilt--of comfort, not fear--Christ Jesus taught to all mankind almost two thousand years ago. And it is found again today through the Bible and in the book that opens up the Bible for us, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.