I had an experience some years ago that has really helped me understand God’s grace more fully. When my son was sentenced to serve a little over two years in prison, I was shocked. It had been unexpected, and this sentence seemed very severe.
A couple of weeks after the sentencing, I rang the prison to find out what was required for a visit. I was so worried about my son that I was keen to see him as soon as possible. However, I discovered from the prison authorities that booking a visit must happen a week in advance. I was also told that the inmates need money for additional food, better shoes, warmer bedding, etc., and that I could go to the prison to put some money into an account for him.
That night I was overcome with fear for my son. I woke feeling as if I couldn’t breathe, and humbly reached out in prayer to know God’s omnipotent, loving care was there for all His creation. Within a short time I became a little more at ease, and as I continued to work prayerfully over a few hours, a sense of God’s loving all-presence came, breaking the feelings of oppression, and I was freed from fear. A gentle but sure message that I would soon see my son came clearly to thought. I held to this message and finally went to sleep trusting all to God.
The next day I headed off early to the prison. As I walked through the razor-wired areas, I felt I was entering a different world. As I came down to the area where I could deposit money into my son’s account, I met a prison officer outside having his break. He cheerfully welcomed me, asking if I was there to see someone. I replied no but that I was there to put money in an account and that I hadn’t been to a prison before. He said deposits were his job, so he would take me in to fix it up.
As we were proceeding with the deposit, he looked up and asked if I would like to have a visit today. With tears in my eyes I said yes, and that day I saw my son. After I became more familiar with the prison system, the remarkableness (or miracle) of that first visit became very clear, but that was only the start of a time of healing and progress for both my son and me.
During the time of my son’s imprisonment, I gained a deeper understanding of Mary Baker Eddy’s statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love” (p. 494). Eddy defines miracle as, “That which is divinely natural, but must be learned humanly; a phenomenon of Science” (p. 591). Christian Science brings an understanding that God has not created sin, sickness, or death, and that God’s law of harmony is in operation at all times; therefore, we are part of it, never outside of it.
Divine Love is always loving us, and we cannot be deprived of Love’s presence wherever we are. In Jeremiah we read: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; … I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (31:2, 3, New Revised Standard Version).
During this time I saw wonderful changes take place in the thought of my son about the choices he had made in his life. He was also able to help and encourage those around him in prison. Upon release, he was reinstated to his former position of employment and has since made substantial progress in the company without loss from his time away.
The miracle of this experience, for me, was to see that good and love are “divinely natural” and that when we learn this, our experience is corrected. I can now understand why grace is no miracle to Love, because Love could never be anything except loving. This scientific fact is in operation always.