Never, never, never give up.
September 27, 2013 by David Strege
- by Barcroft TV
- 6 days ago
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The Beginning Of A New Beginning
By Mary Trammell
From the October 10, 2005 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
Since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States on August 29, millions have been struggling to come to terms with the loss of life and damage the storm caused—and to find ways to move forward. As efforts get underway at rebuilding lives and homes, businesses and infrastructures, a prayerful grasp of divine power and sustenance will be of inestimable value. The following article began as a conversation on Sentinel Radio.
The Bible gives so many accounts of people who were desperate in one way or another. People who turned to God and, without fail, received God’s help. People who were sick, or dying, or in prison, or in exile, in slavery, who’d lost all their loved ones. Maybe they thought they were all alone in their grief, but then they discovered that they weren’t. God, with all His love, was with them. He’d never left them.
One of the oldest stories in the Bible is about a man named Job. He and his wife lost their farm, their livestock, their family. Everything. Finally, Job got to the point where he wanted to give up—to curse God and die.
But in all that trouble, God spoke to Job. He came to where Job was and spoke to him out of a huge whirlwind. And suddenly, that lit the light of love and hope in his heart. Job turned to God with all his heart—he even prayed for the people who had turned against him in his troubles.
That was the beginning of a new beginning for Job. And from there, bit by bit, Job’s life turned around. One thing led to another, and everything was restored for Job. He and his wife had more children, more livestock, a new farm—twice as much as they’d had before.
The Bible says, “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).
That’s the thing the writers of the Bible wanted so much for their children and their grandchildren—and all of us who read about what happened to them—to understand. That God will never leave you—no matter where you are, no matter what happens. No matter how bad things get.
One of the poets in the Bible said it this way: “If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (Ps. 139:8–10).
My dad told me a story like that over and over again as I was growing up. And I heard him tell it to many others also. It was a true story about how God had helped him in his most desperate moment. I guess he wanted to make a point I’d never forget. Well, he succeeded in that!
And here again was the point: That no matter how impossible things may seem, God will always be there for you. He’s as close as your own thinking. All you have to do is turn to Him. He’ll show you a way out, a way to turn it around. A way to start over.
My dad told me that when he was 19 years old, he lost both his parents, as well as his only living grandparent. That in itself was a lot to handle. But they also left him a pretty big inheritance, which he had NO idea how to handle. And so, over a period of ten years or so, he got into the wrong crowd, and preceeded to spend all his money on cars, bad investments, and high living. And lots of alcohol. Lots of it.
Eventually, he ran through the whole inheritance. He was left with nothing but an old car. He was an alcoholic, a chain smoker. And finally, his doctors said he had just a matter of months to live because of an incurable stomach condition, for which he’d had several unsuccessful operations.
My dad got to the point where he didn’t want to wait out the time he had left. And so one day he found himself on the banks of the Arkansas River, ready to jump—and end it all.
But that’s when, standing there, he suddenly remembered something he hadn’t thought of for years. It was something his Sunday School teacher had said, when he’d gone to the Christian Science Sunday School for a couple of years, growing up. She’d said, “You’ll never have anything happen—no matter how bad—where God can’t help you. Where Christian Science can’t help you and heal you.”
With that sudden, out–of–nowhere thought of hope, my dad got back in his car and drove straight through, all night long, back to his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, to find that Sunday School teacher. I imagine he looked pretty rough when he managed to locate her and finally arrived at her doorstep the next day. He’d found her name in the phone book as a Christian Science practitioner. And after he poured out all his problems to her, he asked, “Do you think Christian Science can heal me?”
What she said to him still seems kind of amazing to me. She said, “Son, you ARE healed.” And somehow he just accepted that as a fact. That he WAS healed. That he could start a whole new life, then and there. A life made new by God.
I think of what spiritual vision that practitioner must have had—to look through whatever she saw on the surface with my dad (he probably hadn’t slept or shaved, and who knows what else) and saw the real son of God. The child He had made. Pure, upright, whole. So loved by God. So totally untouched by alcoholism and illness and failure and tragedy.
That pure vision of God’s man healed my dad, on the spot. It gave him a totally new start on life. His friends and family could hardly believe it at first, but he never had another drink after that moment. Or another cigarette. And his stomach condition was totally healed, too.
But the most incredible transformation had to do with the way he lived his life after that. He met and married my mom, started a family. And most significantly, he gave the rest of his life—another 50 years or so—to helping and healing hundreds upon hundreds of people through prayer, as a Christian Science practitioner, in the way he himself had been helped. He lived to do that. He helped so many people who were desperate, like he had been—financially, or in terms of health or family troubles, or addictions. He helped them start over by finding a new life in God’s love, God’s care.
God will never leave you—no matter where you are, no matter what happens. No matter how bad things get.
That’s what’s in my heart to say to the people who’ve survived Hurricane Katrina: You may feel devastated at this moment—but hold on. With God, there will always be a way to go forward. And God IS right there with you, so close. Mary Baker Eddy, who certainly had to rise up from multiple tragedies in her own life, once wrote to the wife of President McKinley, after he’d been assassinated, “Divine Love is never so near as when all earthly joys seem most afar” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 290).
When your back is most to the wall, when things seem at their worst, that’s when sometimes you hear God’s voice most clearly. You might almost say God’s love pursues you. It shines right through and warms your heart—just like it did with my dad, and with Job. And, one way or another, God, divine Love, tells you, “Don’t give up. Take it one step at a time, but take those steps with me. I love you, and I’ll lead you. I’ll be right at your side as you rebuild and reconstruct and start over. So trust me, accept that you are my beloved son or daughter—and let my love heal you, and transform you, and make you new.”