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Turning Points In Spiritual Growth

Persistence in prayer brings healing

From the July 9, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

I grew up in Christian Science, but as a young adult with a baby daughter, I struggled with my faith in Christian Science healing. When I read testimonies in the Christian Science magazines, I would feel that those amazing healings could never happen to me. I felt that either I didn’t have the understanding, or perhaps some people were just more prone to healing. Although I turned to Christian Science prayer whenever my young daughter had a need, I refrained from talking to her about God or spiritual healing, because I was worried that if a healing didn’t happen, she might not trust Christian Science for healing when she grew up. Although the healing always came, and trips to doctors weren’t necessary, afterward I always wished I had shared my prayers with her.

A turning point in my faith in Christian Science healing came after an incident in the mountains, Christmas Day, 2013. My family and two other families were at a local ski resort, and I slipped on some ice on the deck of the lodge as I carried a tray full of drinks for the group. I felt the bone of my lower leg dislocate from the knee, but with the fall, the bone went back into place.

My family helped me up, but as I sat on the bench I felt I might pass out. My sister called a Christian Science practitioner for me to request treatment through prayer. As I sat with the rest of our group and pondered the majesty and strength of the beautiful mountains surrounding us, I was reminded that God’s strength is my strength, and I never did lose consciousness. I was grateful to be with other Christian Scientists (adults and children) who were all supporting me. 

A concerned ski patroller insisted I would need an MRI, and maybe knee surgery, and explained in detail the workings of the knee and how it might be damaged. I silently corrected the suggestion that matter could have intelligence. I knew that God is the only intelligence—also, that nothing could ever be out of place, even for an instant.

Walking was a challenge, and at times the fear seemed overwhelming, as I wondered how I would take care of my active one-year-old son and six-year-old daughter when my husband went back to work at the end of the vacation. I was also very active in a running group with other moms. If I didn’t show up for awhile they would be calling to see where I was! 

The five-hour drive home the next day was peaceful and gave me a lot of time to pray. The practitioner who was praying along with me had asked me to think about a passage from Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 by Mary Baker Eddy in which the author answers the question: “Has man fallen from a state of perfection?” She writes: “If God is the Principle of man (and He is), man is the idea of God; and this idea cannot fail to express the exact nature of its Principle,—any more than goodness, to present the quality of good.… If God is upright and eternal, man as His likeness is erect in goodness and perpetual in Life, Truth, and Love. If the great cause is perfect, its effect is perfect also; … The spiritual man is that perfect and unfallen likeness, coexistent and coeternal with God” (pp. 78–79).

I held steadfastly to these ideas about my oneness with God, and it wasn’t long before I absolutely knew there would be healing. It was clear to me that this was an opportunity to better understand the truth about God and my relationship with Him.

By the time we arrived home that day, I was able to help tend to my family’s needs. The next day I was able to shower, and on Sunday to go to church, where I received the most loving support from my church family. I was so excited to tell them about the healing I had been experiencing within the past few days, and they rejoiced with me.

Although I was able to walk, I started to feel extremely stiff in my back and neck to the point where I couldn’t turn my head. I woke up that night feeling very scared, and got up to read and pray. The subject of the Bible Lesson in the Christian Science Quarterly that week was “God.” I had been witnessing a direct correlation between the lessening of pain or limitation and each step forward in learning more of my oneness with God, good, and since I always found these healing ideas in the Lesson, I knew I would be healed. The next day the stiffness was completely gone.

I was grateful for this progress, but I still walked slowly, with difficulty and with a limp. Then I found a Sentinel article that had been especially helpful to my family when I was a child. Speaking of man, the spiritual idea of God, as “a unit,” the author states, “A unit cannot be a medley of contraries, cannot be sick in part and healthy in part, cannot be sinful one day and good the next; seeing but not hearing; digesting but not walking. Because his individuality is a unit, a unit of divine Life, he is a healthy, sinless, seeing, hearing, altogether harmoniously active unit. In no way, at no time, can he be less than a whole number, expressing throughout his entirety the quality, character, and activity of God. Because man is a unit and whole number, his being forever expresses in his wholeness the health, action, perception, and holiness of the divine Principle he lives to manifest. Nothing less is man” (Paul Stark Seeley, “Man is a unit,” August 21, 1943). This helped me see myself as God sees me: whole, complete, and spiritual.

I was determined to get back to my running group. However, since exercise had made me feel better physically and mentally, I realized that I had been seeing the exercise as a sort of therapy. I needed to turn to God at moments of discouragement instead. I had just been telling my Sunday School students that morning that they could turn to God in their thoughts at any moment—whether they were feeling scared, discouraged, or angry—and I promised them they would feel His closeness. Couldn’t I do this as well?

I started to think about how good God is, and I felt so grateful for Christian Science and for how much healing there had been since that day in the mountains. It became clear to me that I didn’t need to exercise to have a normal body or to feel happy. Everything I needed in order to express wholeness was already right there with me, provided by God, divine Life—and my life is the expression of divine Life.

With this new insight, I knew that when I returned to my running club, it would be to demonstrate freedom and joy, instead of to gain physical strength. Understanding that God is the only source of good was an important breakthrough for me, and I realized that in many areas of my life I had been looking to matter for good, and for things such as energy, supply, and fulfillment. I saw that if I accepted matter or physical exercise as a source of good, they also could be a source of pain and accident, chance and consequence. I had to spiritualize my thought about everything and everyone in order to see myself as spiritual. I could no longer accept that my good came from anywhere but God, Spirit.  

The next day, I took the dog for a walk and was able to walk freely, with no limp. I rejoiced with happy tears. I was back at the running club by the next week with complete freedom in running, and no one asked about the details of why I had been gone for four weeks. It was as if I had never missed a day.

Since this experience, I’m so grateful for every step I take, and for every time I can pick up my son or drive my daughter to school. All activity is the expression of God as Life, Truth, and Love, and we express these in everything we do.

Now I don’t hesitate to speak to my children about God’s ever-presence. I know that healing isn’t just for a few “lucky ones,” but that through persistence and growth in understanding, healing is available for anyone. We are never praying to make something real go away; we are only uncovering the truth of the law of harmony that is always present and ready to be discovered and proved every day.

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