Never give up
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
I remember reading that quote – by 19th-century abolitionist and best-selling novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe – many years ago on a poster. I thought, “Something this profound must have come from someone who has lived what they are talking about.” Indeed, despite experiencing personal tragedies and witnessing the worst of humankind’s treatment of one another, she lived a productive life that was a blessing to countless people.
How did Ms. Stowe do it? She once referred to, in her own words, her “intense unwavering sense of Christ’s educating, guiding presence and care.” One of her poems, which begins “Still, still with Thee,” was adapted as a hymn in the “Christian Science Hymnal” (No. 317), and in it Stowe repeatedly draws the glorious conclusion that God is always with her.
This message is also one that has come to me during challenging times. For instance, at one time my husband and I and our two children were living in a friend’s basement because a house we’d bought needed substantial repairs, including new plumbing and a roof. On top of this cramped and stressful situation, our income unexpectedly decreased by more than half. This all created great tension in our marriage. We were even considering divorce.
At first I felt blind in this dense darkness, not knowing where to turn for light and hope. It seemed as though it would have been so easy for me to walk away.
But from my study of the Bible, which Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, refers to as “the chart of life” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 24), I’d learned of the wonderful strengths we have all been given as children of God. These include clarity, calmness, wisdom, and inspiration. Affirming that each of us inherently reflects God’s qualities is empowering. Mrs. Eddy also explains, “Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil” (p. 571).
I had experienced before that trusting in God’s Word, in the Christ (God’s healing message of love and care for all), is a good first step to take when we feel paralyzed with fear and don’t see a way out. So I turned again to the Bible for guidance and read these passages: God has “called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9), and “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5).
I couldn’t imagine more perfect ideas for me at that moment. I immediately felt the darkness start to dissipate. Science and Health includes a spiritual definition of “morning” as “light; symbol of Truth; revelation and progress” (p. 591). It felt like a kind of morning as my thought turned to God, divine Truth, instead of ruminating on the seemingly insurmountable problems.
It took tremendous discipline of thought to hold to the truth of God’s love and care for everyone. But Love, another name for God, helps us unfailingly. Science and Health assures us, “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way” (p. 454). Letting God’s love enlighten our thought enables us to be receptive to the wisdom that shows the way out of problems.
And that proved true in my experience. Praying with these ideas freed me from fear and a tendency to unhelpfully criticize and find fault. I felt flooded with light, inspiration, and the natural and deep love I really felt for my husband and my family, including a desire to keep us all together, working in harmony.
Before I knew it, the house was finished, and selling it (as we had originally planned) enabled us to move to a home that we all loved. We stayed together as a family, closer than ever after weathering the storm. My husband and I even went into business together several years later, enjoying a successful and harmonious partnership.
Anyone can experience the shift in consciousness that naturally comes as we realize that in truth we are all loving, lovable, and loved as children of God. The light of divine Love dissolves the darkness of fear and confusion and replaces it with confidence, hope, and abundant joy.