The power of one right idea
I felt totally alone and demoralized.
Some years ago I turned my back on the faith I had been raised in, wanting nothing to do with it. I had been brought up as a Christian Scientist, but for several years I engaged in what I thought were enjoyable social activities, including drinking and smoking, which went against the ethos of the religion. These activities gradually became more regular.
The occasional after-work drink with colleagues turned into drinks four or five nights a week. My financial position went downhill and my once-promising investment portfolio became empty and barren as I sold off assets to pay for my new lifestyle. Although I knew I had a problem, I couldn’t say no when offered a drink.
Eventually I became ill because of these social activities. I was diagnosed with a medical condition that required ongoing medication, but I didn’t have the finances to pay for treatment. Full of self-loathing and guilt, I wondered how I would tell my family. I felt totally alone and demoralized.
What happened next reminds me of a Bible story. In the sixth and seventh chapters of the book of Judges, there is an account of an unusual attack upon, and defeat of, an occupying army. This was a time when the Israelites had abandoned their faith in and loyalty to the one God. As a result, their land and resources had been ravaged by the Midianites. Only when all seemed lost and destruction inevitable did they pray to God for help.
Their prayer was answered: An “angel of the Lord” appeared to a young man called Gideon. Gideon, perceiving the angel message, obeyed God’s command that he consecrate himself to God, Spirit, and destroy the altar of the pagan god Baal. His obedience to God’s direction opened the way for him to be in a position to meet and defeat the enemy.
I imagine that the desperation and hopelessness I was feeling as I stood in the hallway of my home, not knowing where to turn, were not unlike the emotions the Israelites must have had in their dismal situation. But God’s help was there for me as it was for them. I found myself reaching out to open a drawer in my hall stand. Inside was a copy of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
Immediately I felt the effect of identifying with this good and pure heritage.
I thought I had thrown out everything associated with Christian Science. But there it was. I reached in and took the book. As I opened it, my eyes fell on this passage on page 63 : “In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry.” Immediately I felt the effect of identifying with this good and pure heritage and knew I was healed of both the medical condition and the drinking problem. I never again suffered from symptoms of either. It was the power of just one right, scientific thought. Later the smoking was healed as well.
In Gideon’s story, one of the things he needed to do was recruit an army so he could rout the invaders that had defiled the land. To understand what that might represent to us spiritually, we can think of this as employing spiritual ideas, or truths about God’s nature and our relation to God, as we work to cast out all that would attempt to defile our Christly consciousness, our good and pure heritage as God’s spiritual offspring. Reading Science and Health that evening armed me with the spiritual truths that transformed my consciousness, revealing the reality of my spiritual wholeness.
In the days and months that followed, as I started listening for God’s spiritual ideas and following where they led, my finances and investments improved. What had been lost was restored.
A second aspect of this healing was forgiveness of church and family members who I felt had wronged me. This too was healed as I saw that only mortal mind, or error (a term used to describe that which is opposed to God but has no real existence), is blameworthy. This isn’t truly anyone’s mind, because God, the divine Mind, is our only mind. These individuals had no more sinned than I or anyone had, since they also had a good, pure, spiritual heritage that had never been tarnished. I started once again attending church services and began serving in the Christian Science Reading Room of my local branch Church of Christ, Scientist, where I also met the man who became my husband.
An article by Mrs. Eddy titled “Love Your Enemies” declares, “Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 8 ). Mental foes such as “envy, hatred, revenge,” seemingly arrayed against our true, Christly consciousness, may sometimes seem overwhelming or too strong for us. Yet the same article says that God “has called His own, armed them, equipped them, and furnished them defenses impregnable. Their God will not let them be lost; and if they fall they shall rise again, stronger than before the stumble” (p. 10 ). By purifying and spiritualizing thought and cultivating a mental alertness that shuts out false and unproductive thoughts, we can apprehend and experience the spiritual sense of life.
Gideon’s experience illustrates this beautifully. As he prepared an army of thirty-two thousand men, God spoke to him, saying that this was too many. God told Gideon, “Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart.” Gideon was then called upon to test the remaining men, so that only they who were vigilant and alert were retained. This purification process left Gideon with a band of just three hundred men and an inspired idea of how to deploy them. In this way he was victorious over what appeared to be overwhelming Midianite forces.
This victory of Gideon and his army shows that it is the quality, not the quantity, of one’s thoughts that brings success. One right idea can bring the light of Truth to bear on any situation and result in healing. No matter how large the problem may appear or how overwhelmed we
may feel, there is a mighty spiritual idea ready to aid us.