DOES it ever seem like someone or something is making you miserable-ruining your life? Maybe it's a person at school, or some situation at home. Well, if so, I've got some good news for you. Your life doesn't have to be ruined. You can feel happy, even before the person is nice to you or the situation gets worked out. In fact, the very person or circumstance that's so difficult can actually help make your life even better, and help you make life a little brighter for other people, too.
How does this work? We get a clue from something in the Bible, in Matthew: ''Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house'' (5:14, 15).
Think of yourself for a minute as a candle. Now think of who or what you feel is making you miserable. If you let that person or situation snuff out your joy and keep you from feeling and acting like yourself, it's as though you've put an upside-down basket over your head. Then you can't see anything since it is dark. And no one else is benefited by your light either. But if you turn to God and work harder at knowing Him, this prayer is like a candlestick that lifts you, the candle, higher and enables you to help other people, too.
You always have a choice. You can let difficulties drag you down, or you can rise higher because of them. You can outshine them with real joy and love. So what does it mean to rise higher? You do this first in consciousness. It means lifting your thought to the truth. It means honoring God as the one true cause. Since He is good, everything He's created can only be good. If you believe that God created His children to be cruel, or stupid, this dishonors Him. It is really believing a lie and suffering the consequences. Believing that God allowed a horrible situation to surround you is the same as denying that He controls creation.
On the other hand, if you hold to the truth, your thought rises right out of the gloom and fear. You shine, and healing takes place, and things turn out right.
The person who talked about bushels and candlesticks, as a way of teaching this lesson, was Christ Jesus. And he knew better than anyone else how important this lesson really is. In spite of being completely innocent and unselfish, Jesus was hated and persecuted by those who feared him or felt shamed by him. But this only caused him to love and obey God even more-to keep letting his light shine. Later on, Mary Baker Eddy, a woman who loved and respected Jesus, made this observation in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Jesus rose higher in demonstration because of the cup of bitterness he drank'' (p. 43). Well, the persecutors of Jesus went so far as to kill him. But even this didn't snuff out his message, or even his life. He returned three days after he was killed, and his message became all the more widely known. It changed the world forever. On the same page as the quotation above, Mrs. Eddy wrote: ''Those who slew him to stay his influence perpetuated and extended it.''
Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science. You could think of it as something that helps you to understand how Jesus healed and what he taught-as something that helps you to bring your own light out from under any cover.
You probably will never face any hatred as intense, or any situation as dire, as Jesus did. But whenever anything or anyone troubles you, his words about bushels and candles are applicable. Be sure not to let what troubles you snuff out your spiritual light and your joy. Instead be sure to let whatever difficulty you're confronted with turn you to God in prayer. That prayer is what will cause you to rise higher, and to shine. It will be a candlestick for your light-your trust in God and love for all His children.
Thou hast turned for me
my mourning into dancing:
thou hast put off my sackcloth,
and girded me with gladness.