I began to learn that God is Love in Sunday School, and I'm still learning. One teacher had us memorize the following statement by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony." It is from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 390), and has always helped me.
Recently that statement came to me as I was praying about world events that were tragic and disturbing to me, especially a violent mass murder. How could a God who is Love allow such a thing to happen? Well, the more I prayed, the more I realized God hadn't done any of it. And that fact began to feel very real to me.
One beatitude, spoken by Christ Jesus, says, according to the book of Matthew, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (5:4). This took on new meaning for me, as a new view of "mourning" emerged from my prayer. I thought, if ignorance of God as Principle produces discord and random tragedy, and if a right understanding of God comforts and harmonizes, then in a "blessed" sense to mourn is to forsake ignorance of God-to seek wholeheartedly the truth. It is to find what God is really doing. We can feel the power of God, who does not afflict His children. We can feel His love for us by accepting the truth of His presence, goodness, and care. This is how we are truly comforted.
The five senses often indicate loss, despair, and hopelessness. Ignorance of God is involved here. But the truth of God is ever present in human consciousness. It is always ready to bless. That truth is that it is never God's will that anyone should die; the Bible illustrates God's willingness to save and heal. Where there is an understanding that God is the only power, ignorance cannot triumph. Nor can violence or terrorism. This is the understanding on which Christian Science is based. This recognition comes to the human consciousness most clearly when we reject fear and evil, and willingly give up any view of God predicated on His supposed knowledge of evil. In the spiritual sense of mourning, then, we can pray, humbly change our concepts of God and existence, and do much to bring comfort to the world.
I realize this is what happened to me as I mourned the impending death of my brother, who was in a hospital with a terminal illness. There was nothing for me to do but pray. Over the course of several months, I sought to understand the Bible statement that God created us all in His likeness. I became convinced that ignorance of God could not hide the truth from me.
One day as I looked at my brother, I said to God with all my heart: "This is not the real man. Show me the real man." The answer that came distinctly was: "He is not alone." Suddenly I realized the presence of God, and I was instantaneously free of grief, fear of separation, and concern for my brother. It was a feeling of love-of complete joy and peace. I understood the truth that my brother could not be separated from God, who was his Life; neither could I be separated from God, my Life. Therefore we would always be together in divine Life. It dawned on me that God unites His family forever in His love. Though my brother did pass on that night, I had done my "mourning"; I had surrendered an ignorance of God, and felt completely comforted. And I was able to comfort others.
Christian Science is explaining to people that it is possible to surmount even the senselessness of tragedy-not by accepting it as the will of God but, quite the opposite, by understanding that God did not ordain it because He is good alone. This brings a spiritual conviction that has the power to save, comfort-and even to heal.
I know that, whatsoever
God doeth, it shall be for ever:
nothing can be put to it,
nor any thing taken from it:
and God doeth it, that men
should fear before him.