The Bible: A fresh fountain
Although it is quite an old book, to me the Bible continues to be a fresh fountain! Again and again, I come across passages that—although I may have read them many times—suddenly seem quite new, bringing me a lot of inspiration.
Here is one example: In First Kings we read how God told the prophet Elijah to go to the town of Zarephath, where a widow would care for him during the upcoming famine. Elijah did what God told him. During the time he lived there, the son of his hostess became very sick and died. His mother, of course, was beside herself with grief and reproached the man of God, thinking he had killed her son as retribution for her sins. Elijah simply said, “Give me thy son.” He carried the boy in his arms “up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. ... And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord” (see I Kings 17:17–24 ). The child was restored to life.
I was quite touched when I read this passage not long ago. Elijah’s simple command, “Give me thy son,” gave me food for thought because at the time I was struggling with a difficult and unpleasant relationship situation, and with what the other person had done to me. I felt that the words “Give me thy son” were spoken directly to me, meaning: Put the situation into God’s hands!
I felt that the words “Give me thy son” were spoken directly to me, meaning: Put the situation into God’s hands!
Elijah was a prophet, and in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines prophet as “a spiritual seer; disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth” (p. 593 ). I felt the second half of that definition really applies to this story. Elijah healed the child by recognizing “the conscious facts of spiritual Truth” —that in God’s creation there can be no death, only infinite Life.
Well, I realized that my feeling of being hurt didn’t need to be kept on my lap to be grieved about and lamented. This story about Elijah and the widow’s son showed me that I could pass that relationship situation—which had hurt so much and which had kept me busy for so long—to a higher stage, to God.
I pondered how Elijah had lifted the widow’s son not just “up into a loft,” but to a higher level of consciousness. I am convinced that the spiritual seer always lived in the certainty of God’s presence. And this is where he lifted the child—into the healing presence of divine Love. One could say that he covered the child with this security of his knowledge. Elijah’s deep spirituality and his absolute trust in God brought the child back to life.
Elijah was also known as Elias, and the Glossary of Science and Health contains this definition of his name: “Prophecy; spiritual evidence opposed to material sense; Christian Science, with which can be discerned the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold; the basis of immortality” (p. 585 ).
It dawned on me that all these steps—letting go, uplifting thought to a spiritual level, being covered with divine Love, rebuking fear, and feeling the deep conviction that all is well—belong together. They allow us to know that the perfection of creation, including each man, woman, and child, is a present fact.
As I thought about all these ideas, I realized that my own healing was still not complete. I was arguing within myself about what still needed to be said or done by the other person. This internal debate went on for quite a while, until suddenly the thought came: “But you are like Naaman!” What a surprise! Naaman, the commander of the Syrian king’s armies, had come to Elijah’s disciple, Elisha, in order to be healed of leprosy. But he had his own idea about how this healing would have to come about, and when the prophet didn’t even come out to greet Naaman, he became angry. He said, “I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper” (II Kings 5:11 ).
That was exactly how I had felt: I thought this other person would make a grand gesture to bring resolution to the situation. But now I reminded myself to stop this debate—I didn’t need to outline how the solution would come about. I’d recognized that God was in control, and all that was necessary now was to be obedient and humble and let go of the problem. And as it turned out, this was the end of the mental discussion and of the problem itself. I was able to let go of the mental turmoil, and the relationship issue simply stopped troubling me.
The light that Christian Science throws on the Bible shows its messages to be a fresh fountain, always renewing itself. The Bible, along with Science and Health, is my precious companion and teacher. To read, research, and study these books is an uplifting and healing adventure, just as Eddy promised: “The Scriptures are very sacred. Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually, for only by this understanding can truth be gained” (Science and Health, p. 547 ).