A friend of mine was raised in a family of six children. But she said she never felt, while she was growing up, that her mother was too busy to take a keen interest in her life or to help her find a solution to a problem. Before the birth of a new brother or sister, her mother would gather the family together and assure them that she had enough love to care for each one of them. And she demonstrated her love for them daily. Regardless of what she was doing, she would listen and respond to each child in a helpful and loving way.
The love my friend's mother drew upon was no personal commodity; it was God's ever-present love, which she felt as the result of regular prayer and Bible study, and which her children felt reflected in her care for them.
It would have been so easy for a mother of six to think she had too many demands upon her to find time for prayer or Bible study. Who has not been confronted with the suggestion that we just cannot add one more activity to our busy lives? The thing is, though, it's difficult to feel God's love if we don't use some of our time to sit at His feet.
The mother of six had been freed somewhat from the constraints on her time because of what she was learning of God, divine Love, through the key she used to unlock the spiritual concepts presented in the Bible. This key is the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. With the help of this book, Bible study comes alive with practical understanding. We begin to realize that God is not on a time schedule; He meets our needs with His love at all times.
I have found that when I make time for myself daily to feel God's love for me, it becomes quite natural to respond to others with that love even in the midst of the most demanding moments of my days. And isn't that the most unselfish reason for wanting to feel God's love —so that others, whose lives we touch, will also feel it? When letting God's love be felt becomes the primary desire behind what we think and do, the immediacy of His love cuts right through the supposed time restraints of mortal belief and proves them to be invalid. And when our needs, and the needs of others, are met through the reflection of divine Love, our feeling of being loved by God increases. We think less about how much we can or cannot accomplish in a certain amount of time. We think more of how God can help us to help one another.
One occasion gave me more than the usual opportunity to rely on divine Love. I was asked to conduct a memorial service with readings from the Bible and Science and Health. Such readings can do much to help friends and relatives feel God's love, emphasizing as they do the eternal nature of man as the spiritual reflection of God, divine life, Truth, and Love.
With a deep regard for the spiritual needs of those who would be present at the service, I sought God's guidance in preparing the readings. The message that came forward to me from the books was comforting and reassuring. I marked the passages in the books, tenderly reviewed them several times, and placed the books in my bookcase. On the day of the service, I took the books out of the bookcase and drove to the funeral home.
showed me that
the real demand
on us has nothing
to do with time.
Love, not time,
meets our needs.
Other demands upon me that day caused me to arrive only a few minutes before the service was to begin. Normally I would have arrived early enough to place the books on the podium, but this time I was asked to keep the books with me in an adjoining room.
I prayed in preparation for the service and then started to open the Bible to review the readings again—only to discover that I did not have the Bible with me! In my bookcase, three books in matching bindings stand side by side—the Bible, Science and Health, and Prose Works (a compilation of Mrs. Eddy's other writings). I had inadvertently grabbed Prose Works instead of the Bible, and there was no time to go back for the Bible. I surely needed to feel God's love right then. So I became very still and waited for His loving direction. Then I asked the funeral director, who lived in the building, if he had a Bible. While he went up to the attic to "see if we have one," I continued to keep my thought open to God and closed to panic. I recognized that divine Love was present—that God was caring for the dear ones who had come to be comforted, and that He would not disappoint them.
Up to that point I had made no effort to memorize the readings or where they were located in the Bible or the order they were in. But by the time the funeral director arrived with a dusty Bible, everything I needed stood out clearly in my thought. I calmly located and marked the passages in their correct order with scraps of paper and a pencil that I found in my purse. The service began on time. And God's message of love went out to everyone present.
The experience showed me that the real demand on us has nothing to do with time. Love, not time, meets our needs. The true demand on us is to learn of God and reflect His love. And in proportion as we do, we feel His love in tangible ways. As Mrs. Eddy says, "Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes." Science and Health, p. 184
Christ Jesus, above all others, proved that God's love is sufficient to meet all human needs. Where sin and sickness seemed to be making terrible demands on individuals, Jesus proved those demands to be illegitimate and powerless in the face of the reflection of divine Love. Jesus even urged his opponents to let God gather them in and care for them. Speaking of the love of God that he expressed, Jesus said to them at one time, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Matt. 23:37
Divine Love meets the demand for health, holiness, and vitality because these are attributes of the divine Mind, which man reflects. God, divine Love, is never too busy to embrace us—His children—in His love and provide us with the practical ideas we need.
"Father-Mother," says Mrs. Eddy, "is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation." Science and Health, p. 332 And a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal confirms, "Like as a mother, God comforteth His children...." Hymnal, No 174 Our need is to regard God as our loving Mother as well as Father—a Mother who is constantly assuring us of the sufficiency of Her love. And then we need to go to God in study and prayer, and companion with Him as we go forth to meet the demand to love one another.
We should think highly enough of ourselves to give ourselves this opportunity to feel God's care. No one else can do it for us. When we do, we will find that the demands upon our love will be met by reflecting the love of God. We will feel God's love. Divine Love puts all other demands upon us into their proper perspective and enables us to meet them.
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