I once heard a testimony on a Radio Sentinel program about a man working on a fishing boat who listened to a fisherman’s graphic explanation about getting a hook lodged in his hand. Soon after that, the same thing happened to the man who had heard the fisherman’s tale. As he prayed, he realized that he had allowed the story to impress him enough that he believed it to be fact—but once he saw what had occurred in his thinking, he was able to realign his thought with God’s view of the situation. Healing then quickly came for this man—his hand and arm, which had been affected, were restored completely.
Since hearing that testimony, whenever a picture of sickness is presented before my eyes, I immediately think, “Oh, that is just a fisherman’s story,” and I look to God to tell me the real story about the situation. This has been a powerful resource in my spiritual toolbox to rely on.
I remember one time, about 16 years ago, when I had to tackle a “fisherman’s story” by sticking with the facts of God. My husband and I were living in East Africa with our daughter. Over a period of about two weeks, my husband began to experience a yellowing of his skin and other alarming symptoms. He didn’t feel that bad—just a little “off”—but people in his office began to be concerned. He worked with well-educated colleagues, including some PhD’s in the health-care field. They were all convinced he had hepatitis, which can cause many of the symptoms he was experiencing. Because of the concern of my husband’s colleagues and others, he and I went to a medical facility, as suggested, for testing. When the results came back they showed that we both had hepatitis.
The doctors told us there was no medication to take, but that rest and staying at home was mandatory. There were many opinions and laws laid down about the seriousness of this disease and its potential long-term effects. The doctors said it could take anywhere from a month to six months to recover from. In fact, my husband’s boss had been out of work for six months when he had been diagnosed with this disease.
Our family had already experienced many healings through prayer, and my husband and I were both convinced that this condition also would be quickly and permanently healed. We went straight to God to find out the truth about the situation. We also asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray with us.
One of the main things the practitioner shared with us was that we were dealing with the question: Is this claim of disease the truth, or is it opinion, a “fisherman’s story”? After all, an opinion is defined in the dictionary as just “a belief strong enough to make an impression but not strong enough to be true.” So we had a choice whether or not to be impressed. Even though we were surrounded by people who supported the validity of these opinions; blood tests showed the existence of this disease; and world thought also seemed to back all of this up; it still wasn’t what God knew to be the truth or the fact about us.
The facts about God’s man are infinite, but there were a few that stood out to me as I prayed. One is, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. . . . And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31). I also thought about what Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures about the need to distinguish between God’s truth and opinion: “The refutation becomes arduous, not because the testimony of sin or disease is true, but solely on account of the tenacity of belief in its truth, due to the force of education and the overwhelming weight of opinions on the wrong side,—all teaching that the body suffers, as if matter could have sensation” (p. 396).
We knew that God is equal to any belief and more than capable of overcoming it. And that is just how it all worked out. In three and a half weeks my husband was back at work, looking and feeling healthy, and I was back operating my own business. This healing took place 16 years ago and there have never been any lingering effects.
Have you heard the saying, “One on God’s side is a majority”? How can we ever fear opinion or “fisherman’s stories” if we are part of God’s majority? To echo the words of the prophet Elisha: “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (II Kings 6:16).
My wife’s testimony is an accurate account of what happened. It was predicted that the illness would take up to six months to run its course, yet we were both back at work within three and a half weeks of the diagnosis, perfectly healthy. This issue hasn’t come up again for either of us, and we’ve continued to live happily in this part of the world.