Eyes full of joy
I HAD a friend who had a wonderful capacity to find and develop the good in any circumstance, regardless of how dark it seemed. You could always rely on him for strength and support when the going grew difficult. I realized that his view of God and of reality itself helped him see circumstances differently than others. It seemed to me often that his eyes were full of joy and that this joy rained down, so to speak, upon what he saw.
His example has been helpful to me whenever I've caught myself believing that my world was hopeless. It has helped me realize that what I needed was not simply a change in circumstances but a more spiritual perspective.
This might be mere positive thinking were it not for some solid and tested Biblical truths that support something much deeper and more realistic. In Hebrews, for example, we read: ``Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.... Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.''1
In Christ Jesus' work, didn't every healing correct in some way the evil that others saw? Think of the heaviness surrounding the widow of Nain as the pall-bearers carried her only son to what everyone believed would be his tomb.2 Yet Jesus ``came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still.... And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.'' Jesus saw beyond appearances, to the spiritual reality of God and man, and this enabled him to restore the widow's son to life.
Though we're not often faced with this kind of situation, and the Master's healing work is obviously unparalleled, still the same spiritual reality upon which Jesus based his work is available to govern our own perspective powerfully and to bring healing. It can throw new light on what we see and can dispel gloom.
This new light begins with a better understanding of God. God is Love itself, as the Bible teaches. Therefore everything God does is characterized by love. And this is no small love! It blesses man thoroughly in every way.
The man of God's creating is the very expression of Love, the spiritual likeness of Love, inseparable from the creator's care. And this is our true selfhood. There's no way, then, that we can really be without love or without the joy that accompanies it. But a materialistic sense of life would have us identify ourselves as victims of evil, separated from Love. This false sense, convincing though it may be, needs to yield to a better understanding of God's supremacy and of our real being, which can never be deprived of joy.
Though there are obviously many circumstances in the world where God's love seems absent, isn't there still evidence pointing to its presence and activity all around us? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says: ``Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light. The grass beneath our feet silently exclaims, `The meek shall inherit the earth.' The modest arbutus sends her sweet breath to heaven. The great rock gives shadow and shelter. The sunlight glints from the church-dome, glances into the prison-cell, glides into the sick-chamber, brightens the flower, beautifies the landscape, blesses the earth.''3
Like the sunshine, God's love is impartial; but unlike the sunshine, it reaches everywhere, even the dark corners. Through prayer, through a willingness to look beyond the moment's circumstances and yield to the power of Love, we will find the light of joy in our own eyes. We can then look out at the people and circumstances in our lives through that joy.
No, this isn't superficial optimism. It involves a profound shift in perspective so that our lives become God-centered. And though making such a shift often demands great effort on our part, it can show us the redeeming features of even the darkest pictures.
1Hebrews 11:1, 3. 2See Luke 7:11-15. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 516.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Blessed art thou, O Lord....Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Psalms 119:12,18