Overcoming sorrow after tragedy

When tragedy strikes, we can turn to the comforting truth that God is Life itself and find peace. 

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Several years ago my mom died suddenly and unexpectedly. It was a shock to me and those around me, and I found myself not only feeling grief and sadness but also asking, “Why?”

Why would this happen? Why didn’t God protect her? Why are there bad circumstances that lead to bad results?

At the time, my sense of loss and pain felt overwhelming, but as a student of Christian Science, I had learned that the best way to find answers to complex questions was to turn to God for guidance and healing. I knew I had a choice.

Deciding to look to God, I prayed and asked God to gently lead me out of confusion and sadness. I focused on listening for the divine guidance that I knew God was sharing with me. As I lifted my thoughts up and away from the challenge toward a more spiritual sense of existence, I began to feel comforted.

From my study of the Bible and its timeless spiritual teachings, along with “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, I began to understand that only good qualities, such as peace and joy, come from God. God is the source of all creation. As the divine source, God is so spiritual that He is actually completely unaware of anything that’s not good. This means that God does not create death or cause tragic events.

“This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death” (Science and Health, p. 304).

In the book of Matthew, there is an account of Jesus taking three of his disciples to a high mountain, where they witnessed Moses and Elijah, who had both passed on centuries earlier, talking with Jesus (see 17:1-8). The story shows us that life is rooted in something deeper than a physical human experience. And, following Jesus’ example, as we understand more about unlimited existence, we begin to see and experience more of this spiritual truth of life, where we are all eternally connected.

As I continued to pray, it became clear that I was on the right path, and the pain began to ease. I understood my relationship to God more deeply, as well as my relationship to my mom. One day, while deep in prayer, I felt completely connected to God and my mom, woven together by divine Love like a tapestry.

Now, I know that my mom is more than a memory. Even while she was going about her days in human form, she was already a child of God. Like each of us, she was, is, and forever will be an eternal expression of God’s love that cannot change or be lost.

When we begin to distinguish between spiritual Life, God, and the limitations of human life and lift our thought toward the Divine, our experience becomes more grounded and peaceful. We can apply this approach even when a tragic event has hit our community or the world. We can take comfort that evil and death do not come from God and find solace in the beauty of spiritual truth. Then, when praying, we do not attempt to outline changes for the world, but instead strive to see the healing reality of the divine Life that is already there.

Each day, I am learning more about how God truly is All – that God is ever present, across all time, space, and experience. Through conscientious prayer, we can work toward a deeper understanding of this continuous Life that does not include death or tragedy. It is this effort that can help us the most when we’re faced with even the most distressing events.

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