In my late 30s, my mother and my mother-in-law, both cherished people in my life, passed away within days of each other. I reeled from grief and felt a darkness overwhelm me. I felt orphaned – bereft of the unconditional love that both these women had expressed toward me.
But I love the Bible, and I knew that it challenges us to look outside the human sense of things and to have faith in God and His role in our lives – that is, to understand God as the source of all good. I’ve also learned that this divine goodness is the truth of our experience, in which happiness and health are our normal condition.
The Psalmist gives us a glimpse of how understanding this can overcome a feeling of despair; he questions: “Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside?” And then he counsels and assures us: “Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God” (Psalms 42:11, Common English Bible). I prayed and explored other Bible passages to see if I could find out more about how God’s goodness was a saving presence. Could that presence replace my mental darkness with comfort and joy?
In his many healing works, Christ Jesus proved that understanding God’s goodness had immediate and practical effects. Again and again, he proved the truth of his statement: “The kingdom of God is at hand,” and “within you” (see Mark 1:15 and Luke 17:21, respectively). And during this time of searching and prayer, I found my growing understanding of God’s love and goodness was bringing my experience more in line with divine Truth and proving to me the ever-presence of the kingdom of God.
In a poem titled “Satisfied,” the Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote: “Aye, darkling sense, arise, go hence!/Our God is good” (“Poems,” p. 79). An idea that really helped lift me from my “darkling sense” was the fact that the good expressed by my mother and mother-in-law – love, gentleness, joy, and selflessness – were not sourced in them personally, but were attributes of God that they expressed naturally as children of God. And, since the source of good was solely divine, comfort and love could never be lost because such spiritual qualities are eternal, constant, and reliable. I saw more clearly how those around me – my husband, friends, and neighbors – were often expressing those same loving, motherly qualities. As my sense of God’s love grew, that “darkling sense” completely lifted, or, as I like to say, it went “hence”!
The spiritual understanding of God as the source of all good reverses what the material senses try to portray as joyless circumstances. We become receptive to seeing more of God’s goodness expressed around us, and gratitude and joy become second nature.