I was involved many years ago in a personal relationship that ended badly. I felt betrayed, angry, fearful, and alone. A close friend told me that I could choose to feel loss and anger, or I could see things differently – from God's perspective.
I thought that she didn't understand. I had been wronged, and I felt I couldn't help feeling hurt. I wasn't choosing to feel so hurt; I actually had been hurt. "What can I do about that?" I mentally complained.
Well, as it turned out, plenty.
I looked up the phrase "Choose ye" in the Bible and in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. The phrase is in a marginal heading in "Science and Health," summarizing a paragraph that states, in part: "Dear reader, which mind-picture or externalized thought shall be real to you, – the material or the spiritual? Both you cannot have. You are bringing out your own ideal" (p. 360).
This was what my friend had tried to tell me. In the midst of this distressing situation, I could choose to see the truth that God made – the spiritual picture – or I could accept the human picture, which didn't look or feel very pleasant.
I knew that what "Science and Health" was referring to was what I had been learning in my study of Christian Science – that God, the loving Creator, had made all. When He looked upon what He had made, He saw it as good (see Gen. 1:31).
This means that everything actual or true is a part of this creation, uninterruptedly connected to and derived from, God. I could be aware of His loving presence and divinely expressed plan for all that He had made, or I could choose to accept what I'd been painfully enduring.
The Bible's reference, too, was helpful: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Josh. 24:15). There it was again – the choice. Joshua had provided the people of Israel with the option to serve "other gods" or the one God. He concluded this verse by saying, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
I decided to do likewise.
So whenever I started to feel sorrow or anger, I stopped myself. I turned to God to understand what He was providing His child in the very place that had seemed to hold only loneliness, sadness, and fear.
The first thing I realized related to God's character as completely loving. If divine creation is an expression of a loving God, then it couldn't include anything so hurtful as deception, loss, separation, and sadness. Then, I insisted, these weren't ultimately part of reality, and I didn't have to accept them.
Next came, "Yes, but ..." – a phrase that's all too familiar. Yes, I said mentally, but this person harmed me. That was an actual event. And the suffering seemed, therefore, unavoidable.
Could a divine, loving God make a deceptive, hurtful person? Deception and hurt aren't associated with an all-loving Creator.
I had to correctly identify the person who had harmed me. That's the only way I was going to see this situation with any clarity.
It wasn't easy. But I persisted, knowing that I wasn't trying to change another person; I was trying to choose the God-given view of what was really going on and of all the people involved.
I was soon completely relieved of any bad feelings. I turned my thought toward new horizons, let the past go, and expected to see what God had in store for me.
Before any new adventures could begin, and without effort on my part, the person who had so wronged me asked forgiveness. I was surprised and pleased, and we parted with an amicability I wouldn't have guessedpossible.
But as the Bible says, "With God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27).