When a close and trusted friend passes from our lives, one of the accompanying feelings may be abandonment or fear. What will we do without that individual's presence in our lives? How will we wrestle our way through the challenges without his or her counsel? While everyone's circumstances are different, most of us have had these or similar feelings.
At such times, it's so helpful to turn to the Bible with its life-tested messages of God's love for each of us. The powerful account of Jesus' resurrection promises us eternal life. It reinforces the certainty that even when we aren't sure of all the answers or why things happen in a certain way, God will see us through the challenge.
Jesus knew this and trusted it. How else could he have faced crucifixion so bravely? In his final hours with his disciples, Jesus must have yearned to prepare them for the threats and dangers that lay ahead. He directed them away from personality to the Christ, the spiritual truth that was the heart of his message. He needed them to understand that the spiritual work they were doing went far beyond just his vision. He also wanted them to know that they would always be cared for.
He told them, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). This strengthening promise is one that will help any of us who have lost a friend, mentor, or counselor. This promised peace has its roots in the unbreakable relationship between God and each of His children. This spiritual understanding is the basis of true peace. It is the conviction that God's goodness will prevail.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy made this point in a powerful way. The Monitor's founder, who had faced both joy and disaster in her long career as a spiritual leader and communicator, wrote: "This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man – governed by God, his perfect Principle – is sinless and eternal," p. 304).
These thoughts may seem difficult to trust when we hear of someone's passing. It may seem much more obvious that the loved one is gone, no longer able to share our burdens and our joys, and God may not feel very present at that moment. But this is when the peace Jesus promised us can help. Jesus brought this peace wherever he went. It stemmed from his knowledge that no one can be deprived of God, divine Life.
This is the knowledge that empowered Jesus' healing work and gave him the ability to stand before Pilate and others who were judging him. This is the Christ – the true idea of God and man. Christ shows us how to see the power of God supporting everything we do. It reveals that each of us is the child of infinite Spirit and that Spirit continues to be our guide, no matter how much human circumstances may argue to the contrary.
It's this focus on the reality of God's presence, and a willingness to trust God's direction of events, that lift our hearts to the peace of which Jesus spoke so tenderly. He knew that if his followers reverted to believing that life was little more than a human struggle with only scraps of help to be found, their ministry would come to a halt. But as they began to pray their way through the challenges and to perceive the spiritual reality that was behind his work, they not only were able to feel the promised peace, but even felt close to their Master.
Reliance on spiritual reality will help us also. As we draw nearer to divine Love, we see new ways Love is providing guidance, joy, and peace. There may also be times when we will gain new insights and joy from the relationship we had with our loved one.
As we are able to see God's presence as the source of the good we had with our friend, we will find new confidence that divine Life is with him or her, just as powerfully as with us. And this, too, will bring us peace.