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From emptiness to joy

From the April 2017 issue of The Christian Science Journal

I didn’t have the energy to cry, but tears streamed down my face anyway as I stared up at the stark sky. In the past, I’d loved thinking of the sky as a symbol of God’s infinitude. But now it represented overwhelming emptiness.

For the first time in months, I felt a glimmer of hope.

Like most college seniors, I had been excited to graduate. But when I returned home to start the next chapter of my life, I was startled by the hollowness I felt. Uncertainty filled me with fear. Questions about a career turned into questions about my identity and even our very existence. Why do we live only to pass on? Why does life matter? I began to feel that all the activities and people I had loved in my life were fleeting and meaningless.

Darkness seemed to swallow me to the point where I didn’t think I’d ever find purpose or stability again. For the first time, I even questioned whether or not I believed in God. Yet that day, as I looked at the sky with tears in my eyes, something within told me to call a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me. 

“But it won’t change anything,” I thought. “And even if it could change something, how could I possibly explain the constant confusion, sadness, and doubt I feel every day?”

Somehow, despite these thoughts, I dialed a practitioner’s number. When the practitioner answered the phone, I said something about how I’d recently graduated from college and didn’t know what to do next in life. That’s all I could muster without breaking down. But the warmth and tenderness I felt from the other end of the line reassured me that he understood my need. The practitioner pointed me to a passage in Psalms that says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way” (37:23). In other words, God directs and firmly establishes our every step. For the first time in months, I felt a glimmer of hope.

When I hung up the phone, however, the comfort left. As I thought more about the passage, I felt it didn’t actually apply to my situation, since I was dealing with so much more than figuring out my next steps in life. While I knew the practitioner was still praying for me, I was doubtful I could be healed. The depression was just too powerful.

God was transforming my thought with His love.

Then, to my great surprise, a sense of light filled the hollowness inside me with warmth. Within five minutes after I hung up the phone, the sadness, doubt, and fear evaporated. While it seemed miraculous to me in that moment, I understood later that the light that filled me was the Christ, “the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 583). I felt this Christ presence as a tangible communication from God, reminding me that I am His perfect, loved, peaceful creation. And I discovered that there was no mental or physical place that could separate me from God’s love. 

After that day, the black hole of depression lingered in my peripheral vision, but since I knew the Christ was at work—that God was transforming my thought with His love—I no longer believed the depression was a reality. I was confident in God’s power. Not long after, as I continued to pray, the last suggestions of depression completely vanished, and they have not returned. In the six years since, I’ve completed Primary class instruction in Christian Science, two master’s degree programs, and am currently teaching high school English. My relationships with my family and friends have become even deeper as I’ve come to recognize God, Love, as the source of those relationships.

This healing enabled me to find meaningful answers to the questions that had tormented me before. And it’s left me with the conviction that even in those times when we feel lost, our steps truly are directed and firmly established by God, and the Christ reminds us of this fact in ways that transform us.

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