Lonely? You have a friend in God.

Living far from home, feeling overwhelmed and lonely, a woman yearned for peace and companionship. The realization that God is always with us, even when it feels like we’re all alone, profoundly changed her life for the better.

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A recent editorial in The Christian Science Monitor highlighted the problem of loneliness, particularly in the context of coronavirus containment efforts (see “Mercy for the lonely in a pandemic,” March 27, 2020).

My thought went back to a time when I found myself in a foreign country far away from home. I had just finished college, and there was a lot I was trying to figure out for myself at the time – where to live, whom to share a flat with, how to pursue a serious career, finances, friendships, etc. The list seemed endless and daunting. I felt alone! And I was often unwell physically.

But something deep inside me was reaching out for a stillness and a satisfaction I had glimpsed every now and again while reading a magazine called the Christian Science Sentinel, which helped me learn about the nature of God. I had a few copies tucked away with me, and as I read some of the articles, peace washed over me. It felt so pure and calming that I knew what I was feeling was the presence of God.

God speaks to us through the Christ, which I learned in Christian Science is God’s message of goodness and care for all that Jesus embodied. I could sense this communication from God even before I understood it. It made me feel safe. And what I was learning gave me a better understanding of God as infinite good, and of my unbreakable relation to God as His beloved daughter.

As a result, the fear of being alone slowly fell away. I gained a deeper, spiritual sense of security, was happier within, and more fully enjoyed the people around me. I also began to cherish quiet times alone as opportunities to feel the order and constancy of a universal divine Love, dissolving a fear of the unknown. Our divine Parent, the one and only Father-Mother God, is the very cause of our existence, and God’s love is reflected in all His children, here and now.

As my thoughts became more lighthearted, the sadness I often felt melted away. Some health problems fell away, too, and a new view of myself emerged in which everything seemed brighter, even though my circumstances hadn’t outwardly changed that much. I had found a friend in God.

We see examples of “friendships” with God in the Bible. Moses, the great Hebrew leader who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and through the wilderness, had a humble, close relationship with God: “The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Each of us, too, can know and feel the comforting presence of God in our lives.

In a year or so, I transitioned to a new project working closely with a group of wonderful people. This steered me in a whole new direction. I strongly felt the hand of God continuing to lead me into a happier mental place and purposeful employment, where I could share my talents to help others as well as benefit from the talents of those around me.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 57). If true happiness is a spiritual quality, rooted in the Divine, it is ours to express and share at every moment.

It’s no wonder, then, that alongside reports of loneliness, there are also reports of a surge in voluntary helpers and companions, particularly during this time of crisis. There is a hunger for purposeful relationships and meaningful friendships found in the sweet interactions of helping one another, even if virtually, over the internet.

When we desire to know more about our indissoluble relation to God, we can slowly but surely come to realize that we are never really alone, even when it feels like it. We can lean on God, allow Him to be our best friend, and let God’s kindness and tenderness into our hearts – and then share it with others, too.

Think of it as a peaceful pause in the midst of the thoughts you might be contending with. God’s grace is universal. His goodness uplifts the heart and leads us into a new place of peace.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.