When problems seem overwhelming

Today’s column explores the idea that God, divine Love, is “big” enough to meet every need, to fill every void, to comfort every heart, including for those struggling with dark or suicidal thoughts.

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A while ago, I found out that a friend from my high school days had committed suicide. Though she wasn’t someone with whom I was still close, the news was shocking and saddening. Perhaps more distressing was the fact that she isn’t the first person I’ve known who has taken her own life, and this realization impelled me to pray about suicide in general. I’ve found that when an issue seems overwhelming, prayer helps me move beyond the magnitude of the problem to see things from a new perspective.

For me, in this case, the thought that sometimes there really is no answer and no way out was the thing I felt I needed to pray about. And the inspiration that came to me was the idea that no problem is too big for God because of God’s infinity – that God, infinite Mind, must include every answer, every solution, to every conceivable problem. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, articulated this simply and beautifully when she wrote in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” using Love as another name for God, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494).

That was a great starting point, but it also got me wondering: What does “infinite” really mean? It’s one thing to say Mind or Love is infinite, but I felt like I got that only in an abstract way. I wanted to understand it so I could feel with total conviction that no matter what situation someone found him- or herself in, there would always be a solution because of the infinite nature of God.

Fast-forward a few weeks to a morning when I was away on a trip and woke up to a stunning view of the ocean. From my room, I could see the first streaks of light glinting along the horizon and radiating across what seemed like an endless expanse of water. Pink changed to gold and then to almost white, and suddenly the whole sky was illuminated, with the limitless blue of the ocean stretched out and shimmering below.

I suddenly felt, in a way I never had before, the meaning of big. The feeling, a sense, of infinite. Looking out at that water that seemed to go on forever, I thought about how that expansiveness only hinted at the expansiveness – or, really, the limitlessness – of the Divine.

It’s not a perfect analogy, of course, but I could see how if that ocean hadn’t been water but the expansive presence of Love itself, I would understand it and never doubt again that divine Love was “big” enough to meet every need, to fill every void, to comfort every heart.

I think in that moment, the idea of infinite changed from a head thing to a heart thing. Instead of just thinking about it, I actually felt something of the absolute vastness of divine Love, and I really knew deep down that it included everyone, in every circumstance, everywhere. This is something I’ve continued affirming for the people I love as well as for those I don’t know who might be struggling with dark or suicidal thoughts.

Suicide is something I want to keep praying about, and I hope you’ll join me. Together, let’s understand in a deep-down way that troubled teenagers, desperate 20-somethings, or anyone who feels hopeless can sense and feel something of the “oceans” of love God has for each of us. The depths of His care. The divine Mind’s limitless intelligence to match and overcome even the most vexing problems. Time and again I’ve experienced that prayer does make a difference. It can free any of us from the lie that our problems are too big for infinite Love.

Adapted from an article published in the Christian Science Sentinel’s online TeenConnect section, Oct. 7, 2016.

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