Originally published in French
Untouched by the “fire” of illness
In the book of Daniel in the Bible, three men undergo a rather barbaric test of loyalty: If they do not bow to the demands of the king, they will be thrown into a furnace. Without hesitation, they explain that they have made their choice and will continue to worship God rather than the idol the king set up.
They are thrown into the furnace but later emerge unscathed. According to the story, “The princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (3:27).
This story relates to a healing I had a number of years ago. I had what was diagnosed as rheumatic fever, which paralyzed me for several months. Supported by the loving prayers of a Christian Science practitioner and my family, I made a full recovery. And I progressed in my understanding of my being as entirely spiritual, not material. The medical prognosis (I was on long-term sick leave from work and needed a medical certificate) was that if I recovered, I would experience bouts of rheumatism for the rest of my life. This has not come to pass.
My father, who was a doctor, was very concerned about my condition while I was ill, but he lived in another country. After I was healed, my family and I went to visit my relatives for a holiday. It turned out that my father had booked several tests for me at the local hospital during this trip.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy explains: “If this Science has been thoroughly learned and properly digested, we can know the truth more accurately than the astronomer can read the stars or calculate an eclipse. This Mind-reading is the opposite of clairvoyance. It is the illumination of the spiritual understanding which demonstrates the capacity of Soul, not of material sense. This Soul-sense comes to the human mind when the latter yields to the divine Mind” (pp. 84–85). This paragraph has a marginal heading of “Scientific foreknowing.”
The practitioner encouraged me to continue to acknowledge the completeness of the healing, affirming that the “flames” had not hurt me but only showed me the need to spiritualize my thought. In Science and Health we read, “Material beliefs and spiritual understanding never mingle” (p. 276). We prayed to thoroughly understand that God’s spiritual children can have no sickness and therefore no aftereffects, and to feel a conviction that these tests could not cast doubt on the healing I’d experienced.
All the tests came back negative—no sign of any illness. My father was incredulous.
And then recently I made the further connection with the biblical account in Daniel. Let’s imagine that, after their experience in the furnace, the three men had gone to another city. Perhaps some wouldn’t have believed they had ever been in the fire, because physically there was no trace that they had. But this wouldn’t take away from the men’s trust in God. In my case, I and others who had witnessed the healing knew that I had been healed, and nothing, including others’ skepticism, could take away the spiritual growth I experienced.
Now I understand better the importance of affirming our healings. The spiritual is our true state, and through prayer we can express our spiritual wholeness more fully in our lives. I am deeply grateful for Christian Science, which Mrs. Eddy discovered, and for the Church she founded, reinstating Christian healing. What a privilege to be able to continue this work!