WE try to do so much for those we love. But ``make-overs,'' ``meddling,'' ``knowing what's best,'' are sometimes rationalized in the name of love! Of course, such efforts are often intended to help -- to protect. But there might be a better way to look out for those we care about, even when they're unhappy and struggling. There is someone we can trust them to -- the real Father of us all. But before we can trust God to take care of others, don't we need to feel nearer to Him ourselves?
No one has shown God's abundant love for His children as well as His Son, Christ Jesus. The Master's parable of the prodigal son1 has brought comfort and consolation to countless Bible readers. In it Jesus tells of a son who left those who loved him and went ``into a far country.'' The father gave him his share of the estate and let him go. And the son wasted it. But, when ``he came to himself,'' when he saw his mistake and returned home, his father not only welcomed him but ``ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.''
This parable teaches us, among other things, that nothing we or anyone else can ever do will be able ultimately to separate us from our loving Father-Mother God. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``God is our Father and our Mother, our Minister and the great Physician: He is man's only real relative on earth and in heaven. David sang, `Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.'''2
As many of us have learned, the way of salvation is an individual path. No one else can walk it for us, and we can't really make the journey for others. But God sent the Saviour to show us the way. Jesus came to people where they were and helped them overcome sin and sickness and fear. When he first met Zacchaeus the Publican, the man was changed and vowed to make amends for his sinful behavior. At the house of Simon the Pharisee, the Master accepted the repentance of an immoral woman and allowed her to ``wash his feet with tears.'' When Peter called out to him on the water and cried, ``Lord, save me,'' Jesus reached out and caught him. And when the Saviour was approached by a woman who had had ``an issue of blood twelve years,'' he said to her, ``Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole''3 -- and she was healed.
Christ Jesus helped these people see who they really were, the sons and daughters of God. And Christian Science, or the Science of Christ, is present in our time to show more of what this divine sonship really includes.
One way it does this is by encouraging us to look away from the limitations of material selfhood, limitations that Jesus overcame so completely. This isn't simply wishful or positive thinking but the deepest kind of Christian realism. Mrs. Eddy writes: ``Matter cannot connect mortals with the true origin and facts of being, in which all must end. It is only by acknowledging the supremacy of Spirit, which annuls the claims of matter, that mortals can lay off mortality and find the indissoluble spiritual link which establishes man forever in the divine likeness, inseparable from his creator.''4
What a comfort it is to glimpse something of the true nature of those we love! Such spiritual insight can show us what we can do for others that will bring genuine healing and even reconciliation. With the freedom this understanding of man gives us, we find new meaning in Jesus' words to Lazarus' friends and family -- ``Loose him, and let him go.''5
Yes, it can be difficult to trust those we love to God as long as we're thinking of them as vulnerable people and Him as a far-off divine Being. And in no way can parents shirk responsibility for care of their children. But when we realize that the child of God, divine Spirit, could only be spiritual, and that His spiritual likeness could never for an instant be separated from Him, this brings release from fears and trepidations and strengthens our trust.
St. Paul tells us, ``Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.''6 God is working in His child! As we learn more about God's love for each of us, and see more clearly the spiritual individuality that everyone truly has, we begin to give up false responsibility and over-protectiveness. And, to our grateful surprise, we find that we can trust others to God's omnipotent care.
1See Luke 15:11-31. 2Miscellaneous Writings, p. 151. 3See Luke 19:1-10; 7:36-50; Matthew 14:23-32; 9: 20-22. 4Science and Health, p. 491. 5John 11:44. 6Philippians 2:12, 13. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Psalms 118:8