Start, stay, stick, and stand with God
From day one of my interest in Christian Science, I saw that Christianity is a whole lot more than sitting in a pew on Sunday and striving to be a good person. Christianity as exemplified by Christ Jesus included healing, and he equipped his disciples well for this work. He didn’t merely suggest that they heal the sick and sinning; he commanded them to, admonishing them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) and, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
Jesus’ disciples became “doers” of what he had taught them. As a New Testament writer puts it in his letter to the early Christians, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,” and, “Faith without works is dead” (James 1:22, 2:20). I love the New Living Translation’s rendition of that first verse: “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves,” as well as a later one that tells us how: “If you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (1:25).
The perfect law that sets you free, I’ve come to realize, is divine Science—the spiritual law of Truth; and when it is practiced faithfully, it heals the sick as Christ Jesus healed. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered this Science of the Christ, wrote, “God’s law is in three words, ‘I am All;’ and this perfect law is ever present to rebuke any claim of another law” (No and Yes, p. 30).
I saw that “perfect God and perfect man” had to be the basis of my prayer, my practice, my every thought.
When I witnessed a healing through turning to this law of Love, it impelled me to “look carefully into [this] perfect law.” Thus began my eager, earnest study of this Christ Science. Soon I took Primary class instruction in Christian Science to better understand this Christly method of healing and how to give a Christian Science treatment, which consists solely of specific, scientific, Christian prayer. There I was taught the rudiments of Christian Science Mind-healing, one of which is, “The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea,—perfect God and perfect man,—as the basis of thought and demonstration” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 259).
I saw that “perfect God and perfect man” had to be the basis of my prayer, my practice, my every thought, in order to be a healer. Doing this, I realized, requires starting with God, then staying, sticking, and standing with Him, not departing from His allness and goodness with a single thought. Now committed to Christian healing, before returning home after the class I jotted down this reminder to myself and tucked it in my copy of Science and Health:
START with God;
STAY with God;
STICK with God;
STAND with God.
Soon, I would learn the importance of remaining committed to this practice of keeping close to God—and how easy it is to unknowingly stray from it if we’re not alert and watchful. But even then, I’ve learned, God awakens us and brings us back to Him—His hereness, nowness, onlyness, allness, goodness, and almightiness.
As my own healing practice started and I began to pray for others who requested it, I made sure to stay with God till my thought was so God-filled that I clearly saw the unreality of sickness, sadness, pain—whatever denied God’s caring control. Soon, this starting, staying, sticking, and standing with God was becoming so natural I discarded my little note reminding me.
But then came a time when I was the one sick and hurting with a painful sore and fever, and suddenly the report of the physical senses seemed so real. Overwhelming even. Contagion, infection, pain, and fear were screaming at me. Instead of turning away from this report and turning to God, Love, to see what’s true—harmony as the law of my being—I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Things got worse. I prayed. But looking back on it, I realize that my prayer wasn’t communing with God; it was really just me rehearsing the problem!
In the allness of God there is no error (evil), and therefore no place error can exist.
It hurt too much to sit or walk or move, so I got into bed to lie down. When I opened my Bible for help, I saw this: “Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?” (Jeremiah 15:18). “Big help that is!” I said facetiously. But then I realized it was a big help! It alerted me that I hadn’t started with God. I’d looked up a Bible verse on pain and intended to follow it with one on fear. Why, that’s not beginning with God. That’s beginning with the problem. “What was I planning to do next,” I asked myself, “—throw truths at it like darts at a dartboard?” The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t start with “What’s arguing to me today?” It starts with God—His nature, His ever-presence and omnipotence. That’s what equips us to see the unreality of disease.
Now I was alert again, remembering to:
1. START with God. “The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind,—that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle” (Science and Health, p. 275). This I was now doing.
2. STAY with God. “Thou [God] wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3) is the Bible’s promise. I’d started with Him, and now felt I was staying with Him—His perfectness—and as His likeness, I was “the king’s daughter … all glorious within” (Psalms 45:13). My prayer went something like this: “Thank you, God, for being Love, and for being right here, right now, causing me. I am Yours—spiritual and entirely lovely in every way: in form, substance, thought, and character.”
Soon, however, came the thought “Then why am I not getting better?” Just like that, fear was back with full force. But God was right there with me, awakening me yet again with this realization: “Hey, wait a minute—that’s not staying with God. That’s a 180-degree turn.” In the allness of God there is no error (evil), and therefore no place error can exist. Error has no ability to lurk, infect, or infest. So the question “Why am I not better?” was based on a lie—a denial of the truth of my perfection—and was not my condition or my thought. Even more, it was a denial of God, saying either that He messed up when He made me (a denial of His goodness) or that He was not the only cause (a suggestion that there must be another cause other than good).
Now striving to stay with God, I continued to reason and understand that “if God is All, and He is good, then good is all, and all is good.” Period. Nothing bad is. That simple logic spoke to me and strengthened me.
3. STICK with God. “Stick to the truth of being in contradistinction to the error that life, substance, or intelligence can be in matter” (Science and Health, p. 418). There’s no big difference, I guess, between staying with God and sticking with Him. However, the next morning, as I was still striving to stay with God even though the physical condition seemed worse, a recent experience I’d had of gluing two tiny, broken ceramic pieces together with super glue (and accidentally gluing my fingers together) came to mind. “That’s my lesson here,” I saw. “I’ll stick like super glue to the truth of my flawless being, no matter what picture is dangled in my face.” “Sticking,” to me, said not looking to matter for even a speck of information, or for confirmation of information, either. Somehow, this idea of sticking with God said even more than “staying” to me—it required more vehement vigilance on my part.
4. STAND with God. “Set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you” (II Chronicles 20:17), the prophet Jahaziel said to Jehoshaphat and the children of Israel when the Moabites, Ammonites, and others had banded together and called them to battle. He also assured them the battle wasn’t theirs, but God’s. Their part was to set themselves, stand still, and see God. They did. And they were victorious!
This really spoke to me, because I made the decision to literally stand—to get out of bed—even though it was painful to do so. But I knew that God, who was enabling me to take my stand, would help me to stand. Thinking about how one “sets” oneself, I mentally knew myself as planted firmly and standing so still and strong nothing could knock me over. Then came three words: “Truth is God.” In all its simplicity, it sank in. And the pain—which I now saw was a vicious lie insisting I was a blob of matter, subject to conditions of matter and governed by laws of matter—was gone. The fever was gone, too.
That glimpse that my whole being was in God, and therefore spiritual, spoke to me with such authority that I felt God’s presence with me, and I started preparing dinner for my family. By the time I went to bed, the sore had drained. I slept all night, and when I awoke the next morning, the skin had closed. In a short time the place where it had been was all filled in and smooth.
Every day I learn more about healing prayer. And a neon-yellow Post-it note on my computer reminds me daily to:
START with God;
STAY with God;
STICK with God;
STAND with God.