Soccer! I love the game. I love the running, the sun on my back, my cleats gripping the grass, the friendships with teammates, the competition, and, most recently, the opportunities for healing.
Picture this: My high school soccer team is warming up for the final game of the season. We know it’s the final game because we’ve won our qualifying games up to this point—up to the state competition—and there are no more games past state. Where am I in this picture? I’m on the sidelines, sitting on the hard metal bench, unable to participate in warm-ups because of a pain in my hip. I can hardly walk, let alone run, handle the ball, or kick.
Being injured and sitting out a game isn’t something new. I’ve had a number of soccer injuries, and, to be honest, I took a pretty halfhearted attempt at dealing with them. However, two years ago, I began attending a school for Christian Scientists, where I am surrounded by people who regularly turn to God through prayer for healing. My classmates’ examples have encouraged me to apply myself more wholeheartedly to spiritual healing. And sitting on the sidelines during the team warm-up for the state competition was one of those times. I realized that I could either accept the possibility of healing and apply myself wholeheartedly to prayer, or I could sit on the bench for this important game.
One of the team’s assistant coaches, also a Christian Scientist, came over to talk with me and shared some ideas about the power and presence of God’s care for me. Though I can’t remember his exact words, I do know that his confidence in the truth he was stating awakened my thought to the possibility that I could be healed right there and then. I reached out to God for help with my whole heart, knowing that, as Jesus promised in his Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).
Immediately this inspired thought came to me: God puts you on your feet every day, and today is no different. This instantly struck a chord with me for two reasons. First, it freed me from the thought of bodily limitation and pain. I saw that muscle isn’t what moves and animates me, because I am God-created and therefore spiritual. God alone makes me upright and free.
And second, I was freed from the limitation of fear as I recognized that, in terms of spiritual reality, this moment was no different from any other moment of any other day. In other words, this moment was still full of all the qualities of God: strength, unhindered ability, freedom of movement, and intelligence. This was exactly the inspiration that I needed.
My thought changed, and I felt the fear drop away. I could see that nothing could stand in my way. With this freedom of thought came freedom of expression, and I was able to move about easily and comfortably. I joined the team for warm-ups and the game.
This healing felt a bit like when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went fearlessly into the fiery furnace, because of their confidence that they were following God, and they were completely protected in doing so (see Daniel 3). I, too, felt a spiritual impulse to follow God and so went forward with courage and calm. The team won, and I won. I won an increased understanding of myself as God sees me: whole, free, fearless.
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