Runner freed from pain

About two years ago, I experienced pain on and off when running. It wasn’t every run, and it would last only for a minute or so at a time, but it was very sudden, sharp, and painful. I did pray about it as I had learned from being a student of Christian Science, but looking back now, I realize that I hadn’t worked very hard.

Not long after I started experiencing these pains, while I was running with a friend, the pain came on suddenly and more severely than ever before. I was forced to stop on the pavement. I tried to brush it off, but my friend told me he’d heard a click coming from my hip. I tried to start running again, but after only a few steps I had to stop and be still. My friend, a trained paramedic, was concerned, so he began asking me all sorts of questions. I tried to allay both his and my fear that I wouldn’t be able to manage getting back to my car. But then, just as suddenly as it had struck, the pain left. I had full mobility, and we finished our run.

Several weeks later, while I was on another run with this friend, he asked if there was any lingering pain in my leg or hip. There hadn’t been, and I had actually been starting to forget about it when it suddenly happened again on this run. But this time, I was prepared, and like a lightbulb switching on, I realized that this was a common belief, a suggestion showing up as pain; it didn’t have anything to do with my leg or hip—or even me. Merely thinking about the suggestion had caused me to feel sore. I knew right at that moment that the pain wasn’t real, meaning that it didn’t have substance or intelligence. Then the phrase “error of belief” came to me. I thought about those words for a few moments until I felt well again, and we continued our run.

Once home, I looked up “error of belief” in the Concordance to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. There are several entries, and I read them all. The one that stood out most to me was on page 184: “Belief produces the results of belief, and the penalties it affixes last so long as the belief and are inseparable from it. The remedy consists in probing the trouble to the bottom, in finding and casting out by denial the error of belief which produces a mortal disorder, never honoring erroneous belief with the title of law nor yielding obedience to it.”

To me, this meant that the pain I was experiencing didn’t belong to me. I couldn’t be held captive by soreness. Because of my study of Christian Science, I knew that material laws saying the body can think or act on its own, including experiencing pain or other inharmony, had no legitimacy, so I could be free from pain. It was just so clear to me that the pain wasn’t real and that I needed to guard my thinking rather than look for either a material cause or a material remedy. That was the end of the pain. I continued to run my regular program with no need to take time off.

Here’s an analogy that helps to explain why I feel confident that the healing is complete. There is a historic bridge just a few miles from my home that is extremely narrow. Only the smallest of cars will fit through it, and frequently the road is closed because the driver of a larger vehicle has ignored or missed the many warning signs and gotten wedged in the bridge. The car I drive can fit across it easily, and I travel on that road fairly regularly. 

One day, though, coming up to the bridge, I suddenly became fearful that I might scrape my car against the sides of the bridge. I thought that maybe today would be the day I wouldn’t make it across. And then I realized—of course I would fit! My car was the same size it had always been, and I knew the size of the bridge hadn’t changed, so there was no need to worry. Once I thought of it like that, I was able to proceed, and I crossed the bridge safely. 

The same is true for our spiritual identity, which is pain-free. The truth is unalterable, or it wouldn’t be true. The truth is that I’m created in God’s image and that because God is forever at peace and perfect, I am without pain or defect—and that is true always. 

Claire McArthur
Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland

Bible Lens
September 12, 2022

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