TRAGIC events such as the killing of hostages and highjacking of airplanes have been part of a jihad, the Arabic for ''holy war.'' Although many people condemn such horrible acts, the issue of terrorism remains to be dealt with.
Someone engaged in a jihad may imagine there is no longer hope for decent living on earth; that only by going to the hereafter (by killing either others or himself) will heaven be found.
Is heaven impossible for us here? Is there no way out of despair? Or is there hope for a fruitful future on earth?
Well, if your own heart is crying, it's time for you to be comforted. The deep desire for concrete good in your life is a holy yearning. It is truly a prayer for betterment, and God answers such prayers. God is Love, and the love of God is able to lift you up. This helps the world as well. This is not a rosy dream.
Once I wasn't sure I had a future, and I did not like the poverty I was trapped in. A particular Bible verse meant a lot to me: ''He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings'' (Psalms 40:2). I learned that when assailed by despair we must cling to hope-not just the hope that is human, but the hope that is inspired by knowing God's love for us. And to know this, we must understand what constitutes heaven and the divine rules that exist to find it.
The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, speaks of heaven this way in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind in which all the manifestations of Mind are harmonious and immortal, because sin is not there and man is found having no righteousness of his own, but in possession of 'the mind of the Lord,' as the Scripture says'' (p. 291). A ''divine state of Mind'' is never gained through violence or killing.
It is practical for us to focus on the light of God's love, and His care for our lives. We do this by really keeping in thought what heaven is. Heaven is essentially the government of man by God (see Science and Health, p. 587). So to find it, we must know God. And His divine messages speak directly to the human consciousness, elevating and changing it. This activity has been at work in the lives of spiritually elevated men and women, throughout all times.
Christ Jesus heard God's Word so clearly that he could heal people and even restore them from death. The same Word of God is here, today, for anyone who wants to escape the sufferings of human existence and is willing to listen to Him.
We must follow Jesus' example. When we let our thoughts become more spiritual, more loving, and more unselfish-we destroy evil. Holding in our thoughts, motives, and deeds all that is good, we eliminate from our lives what is contrary to the nature of God, who is good alone.
You might say that in order to enter heaven-harmony-there's a battle to fight, a spiritual jihad. But it's a battle with oneself, not with others! It's a battle to attain a holier consciousness and a more spiritual existence on earth. This is the battle in which one masters evil by understanding that God possesses the only power that is real. In my own battle I found this in Miscellaneous Writings by Mrs. Eddy: ''Be of good cheer; the warfare with one's self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you,-and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory'' (p. 118).
As a result of my prayer to do good and receive good in my life (not in a future Paradise), today I have many reasons to give thanks to God. I am not poor anymore. I feel I'm a decent person living a decent and active life.
Anyone who starts establishing heaven in his or her own consciousness, and hears God's Word, will not be disappointed. Everything that is not good can, and ultimately will, be destroyed, when we accept the truth that heaven is possible here and now.