When I was in grade school, my parents were unable to care for me, so I found myself living with other families in our city. That’s a hard thing for any child to face.
But one day, at the Christian Science Sunday School I’d been attending, I was introduced to one of the most profound points in the Bible: “God is love” (I John 4:8). My teacher explained that God’s love, like sunlight, shines on everyone, no matter what. And from Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” I learned that “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (p. 332).
I came to feel so tangibly that divine Love was my constant companion that I was able to go through those years without my parents and yet not feel alone. And ever since, I have valued every opportunity to help others feel that same impartial love of God for them.
Some years ago I was asked to give a talk in a detention facility for teenagers who had committed crimes that, if they were adults, would have put them in prison for many years. The talk was about the nature of God as Love itself, and a girl in the back raised her hand and asked whether God could truly love everyone, no matter what they had done – then her face turned red, she looked down in her lap, and she started to cry.
What happened next was powerful. We explored that idea of God’s love, which I had been so helped by as a child and ever since. I was able to say, “Yes, God certainly loves us all, without any lapse and without any exception.”
I wanted them to know that we each have a deeper identity than it may seem on the surface, and that’s how God is always seeing us. I considered with them what it means to be the purely spiritual offspring of a divine Father-Mother who, as Love itself, is always present and supremely powerful. This truly endless love of God purifies us, teaches us, corrects us, and guides us.
By then, a number of these teenage inmates were in tears, but they were strong, good, hopeful tears. As I was leaving, I thought, “In just a few minutes, I will be gone from this facility, but I know that God – our Father-Mother, Love – will always be with each of these individuals, and no one can be separated from our divine Parent’s caring, redeeming presence.”
I love what the Bible says of God’s love in this passage: “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13). Divine Love’s pure goodness tenderly nurtures us, as a caring mother nurtures her child. Opening our heart to the reassurance and love of our true Parent, God, brings strength and redemption. This leads us to think and act more consistently with our loved and loving spiritual nature as the children of God. We can glow in our divine Father-Mother’s love. And we can grow in it, too.
As those teens in the detention center seemed to glimpse, it’s a powerful thing to simply pause and feel God loving us; and the reason we can feel His love when we do so is because it is always there for each of us.