Practicing Christian Science and health-care law: My journey so far
I noticed that many of my cases were resolved in unexpected ways that served justice and blessed the people involved.
I began studying Christian Science at a time in my life when I needed answers. I had just graduated from law school and accepted a job working for a United States government agency, and I felt unprepared for and intimidated by the work. Although I began to experience quick healings in Christian Science, one thing really confused me. It related to the seeming conflict between what I was being asked to do professionally and what I was learning about the spiritual and wholly good nature of God.
My job involved handling cases against health-care providers, including instances of patient abuse and neglect along with cases involving fraud and mishandling of government funds in the health-care context. This meant that I spent a lot of time reviewing patients’ medical records and arguing in court that people had been harmed. I was learning that reliance on prayer alone and the application of Jesus’ teachings could completely heal all kinds of problems, including health needs. So as a new student of Christian Science, I became concerned that these ideas were in conflict with the medical principles that I was required to apply in my professional life.
My initial reaction to this problem was to run away. I began applying for positions in other areas of legal practice, but to no avail. While taking a two-week course in Christian Science healing, I shared this dilemma with my teacher. She suggested that I do my job to the best of my ability and with compassion, and trust that God, divine Love, would provide the necessary answers. This was a wake-up call to start praying!
I realized that I could mentally replace the “facts” I was reading in my files with what I knew to be spiritually true.
One important insight occurred during a conversation with my mother. I called her one night after work, upset about a case I was handling. My mother, who was also a Christian Scientist, knew I was an avid reader. She asked me if I would ever believe that the events in a novel were real. I answered, “Of course not. I know that a novel is a work of fiction.” She replied, “So why would you believe that what you are reading in your case files is real, when you know the truth about God and Her creation—that our Father-Mother God made each of us in Her image and likeness, wholly spiritual and good, and that that hasn’t changed?”
This question was a revelation to me. I realized that I could mentally replace the “facts” I was reading in my files with what I knew to be spiritually true about everyone involved in these difficult situations. This brought much more calm and peace, and I noticed that many of my cases were resolved in unexpected ways that served justice and blessed the people involved.
I also dived deeply into the record of Jesus’ ministry. He healed all kinds of ailments, very often while in the midst of people who doubted his teachings and accused him of nonadherence to Jewish law. He told a man with a withered hand to hold it out—and it was healed immediately, right in the middle of the synagogue (see Matthew 12:9–13). Regarding this and his other healing works, Mary Baker Eddy writes that Jesus “demanded a change of consciousness and evidence, and effected this change through the higher laws of God” (Unity of Good, p. 11). To me this suggests that Jesus was absolutely convinced that the divine law that God made us spiritual, whole, and perfect was the only law in operation.
Another important aspect of Jesus’ conduct in this situation was that he was apparently completely unafraid, even though surrounded by people with a very different view of things. One of the challenges that I often faced professionally was that I was surrounded by people who were good and honest and well-meaning but took a materially oriented view of things. How could my prayer in Christian Science make a difference when I was constantly faced with medical beliefs and practices?
Those words of Mrs. Eddy’s helped me see that there really was no battle going on. If God is the only Mind, and if that Mind is purely spiritual and the only source of being and action, then there is no room for any other mind to influence, act, or even exist. Reflecting on Jesus’ experiences, I could see clearly how they proved that “in divine Science, God is One and All; and, governing Himself, He governs the universe” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 258).
An experience I had really drove this point home. One night, I fell, hitting my face against the bedpost and seriously injuring my nose. Although I bandaged it before going to work, I was worried because I had a meeting that day with two licensed nurses, who I thought would be concerned by my appearance. But I knew that God was with me, governing every aspect of my thought and theirs. No one said anything about my bandaged nose during our meeting. I continued to pray throughout the day, and when I removed the bandage that evening, I found that
I was completely healed.
The following day, one of the nurses who had met with me came to my office. Upon seeing me, she exclaimed, “What did you do?” She said she had noticed the injury to my nose, but that “it didn’t seem right to say anything.” I took the opportunity to tell her about Christian Science and how I had prayed and been healed. She left my office agreeing that God does wonderful things and affirming the effectiveness of prayer.
I have been learning that my true task is to “walk over, not into or with, the currents of matter, or mortal mind” (Unity of Good, p. 11).
All claims of materialism involve the assertion that there is something apart from God. I will never grow spiritually if I attempt to avoid these claims. Instead, I can think and act in accordance with the divine law that God, good, is All.
Although I’m in a different job today, one that involves supporting health-care law issues on behalf of the Church of Christ, Scientist, I keep trusting God and putting into practice what I’m learning in Christian Science—and I love it.