A Christian Science perspective: How can we eliminate sorrow?

While we may speak of having “a good cry,” crying is something most of us would rather not be doing. The Bible offers solace to the sorrowing heart. It shows us that the tears can stop; there is a way to heal our sorrow.

In Psalms 32:6 we read, “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.” If the tears themselves are a flood or if emotion threatens to overwhelm us, the Bible promises that we can find succor by turning to God. And God, divine Love, does help us in any situation.

God is infinite Mind; He is the creator and sustainer of man, His spiritual idea. The things we are struggling with don’t have power or reality in either the light of God’s greatness or the spiritual dominion and perfection He has given man. This is the truth that can rescue us. New courage comes from learning that sadness can’t keep us down, because it is not God-created, no matter how convincing it may appear.

A person awakening to God’s care often finds that he or she is able to leave sorrow behind. Continual crying can become a denial of God’s goodness and turn us away from the help at hand. Crying doesn’t get any more of God’s attention than we already have. It doesn’t heal.

The answer that divine Spirit holds out to us is to get to know the reality of God’s goodness and man’s spiritual identity. But when we are weeping, there is no time for prayer. A real, heartfelt yearning to abandon sorrow, however, can be enough to restore peace even before the difficulty has been solved. The beginnings of hope and the glimpses of the supremacy of divine Mind and its love for man are signs that we are on the right path.

Breaking free of a problem and its sorrows may require reformation in the way we are thinking. Selfishness, self-pity, moodiness, for example, need to give way to qualities like joy, love, and trust in God. The washing away of old traits is always accompanied by the Father’s benediction that we are His and ever will be. Though such reformation demands effort, it can be a time for hope and joy because it is fueled by spiritual truth.

The discovery of Christian Science was accompanied by trials that would challenge even the most stouthearted. Yet Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, could speak of the blessings she always found in looking to God for help. She describes both the process of purification from sin and divine consolation in this stanza from a poem titled “Feed My Sheep”:

So, when day grows dark and cold,
Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,
Take them in Thine arms;
Feed the hungry, heal the heart,
Till the morning’s beam;
White as wool, ere they depart,
Shepherd, wash them clean."

The spiritual consciousness of God’s nearness and salvation stills our tears. We learn through our experiences – even the bitter ones. And even in the midst of sorrow we can say with the Psalmist: “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance” (Psalms 32:7). The promise of deliverance is real. Crying can cease, to be replaced with joy and peace.

Reprinted from the Jan. 3, 1990, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

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