IF you've ever asked yourself what makes life worth living, you can be assured that you're not alone. Even the most worthwhile of human activities don't fully and permanently satisfy a heart yearning for meaning in life. And if we feel that all reasons for living have been removed from us, we may desperately cry out for answers.
The woman who discovered Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, was driven to such depths of questioning and searching. Throughout her youth, and even into her middle years, she was plagued with chronic ill health that caused her great suffering and restricted her activity. Her beloved husband died after just a few months of marriage. Several months after his death, she gave birth to their son, but was too ill to care for him. He was cared for largely by a family who eventually moved a long distance away, taking the child with them. Without financial resources of her own, dependent on family and friends for her means of support, she turned to God to find comfort and meaning in her life.
Step by step, her prayers led her to an understanding of God's omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience that healed her physical ailments. What she learned of God restored to her a sense of home and family, gave her an abundant supply of income, and impelled a career as healer, author, teacher, Founder, and Leader of a worldwide religious movement. From her own experience, then, she could write in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: ''Religions may waste away, but the fittest survives; and so long as we have the right ideal, life is worth living and God takes care of our life'' (p. 166).
Getting the right ideal, then, not changing some human circumstance, is what makes life worth living. But what is this right ideal? God's idea of anything and everything is always this right ideal. Getting the right ideal involves listening to God to hear what He knows of every idea that He has created. When this idea or spiritual concept contradicts what the material concept seems to be, accepting God's idea as the right one transforms, harmonizes, and heals the discords of mortal existence.
For example, the mortal concept is that each of us is the product of two human beings, that we are born of matter into a mortal body, have a limited life span that ends in death. The reality is that man is God's very image, or likeness. As we read in the Bible, in Genesis, ''And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness'' (1:26). Man is the very expression of Godlikeness and so includes all the qualities or attributes of God. Man is perfect, immortal, spiritual, whole, harmonious, joyous, loving, intelligent, and so forth. Perceiving this true concept, or right ideal, begins to transform our sense of being just as sunlight shining through mist dissolves the mist and allows the true view to be more readily seen. Even if this dissolving is very gradual, still each lessening of the mist allows more of the view to be seen.
The right ideal can be gained through prayerful inspiration from God. But this cannot be just an intellectual reasoning about what the right ideal is, since this would put us in the position of telling God what His concept is. We really have to let God speak to us and show us what He knows of His creation. This requires a willingness to let God be heard. It also requires that we let go of the wrong, mortal concepts that we may have come to cherish. Prayerfully turning to the Bible's revelation of God's Word is immensely helpful in both discerning God's ideal and seeing how to let go of false concepts.
Each time we let go of the false concept of anything and hear God tell us of His view, healing is the result. We feel the assurance that our lives are being cared for by God and are not at the mercy of random events. In the tender warmth and assurance of God's love and care for us, life is found to be abundantly worth living. No one is left out of this embrace of love, and each one of us is forever safe in this care.