“Isn’t healing just a coincidence?”
It was no coincidence that a clear understanding of spiritual ideas healed my eye.
These were the earnest words of a visitor at the Christian Science Reading Room where I served as librarian. Although I could not know exactly what he meant, the crux of these types of questions tends to be, “Is God real?” or, “How could healing through prayer be possible?” I assured him that healing through prayer as I had experienced it in Christian Science isn’t happenstance.
When someone is healed through prayer, we are seeing tangible evidence of the reality of God’s, Spirit’s, perfect creation in our experience. Prayer in Christian Science is about more than the surface need for a physical ailment to be healed. It’s about seeing our true, spiritual nature as the expression of God, Spirit, who is the sole source of harmony. Healing through prayer is not a coincidence, but is bringing this infinite and universal harmony to light in our thought and, ultimately, in our health and experience.
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Some assume, though, that if it isn’t a coincidence, healing through prayer must be a miracle. But God isn’t here one minute and then gone the next. God doesn’t show up momentarily to intervene randomly in our lives and then go away, but is always with us. This is what Christ Jesus taught and proved with healing results throughout his ministry. This also explains why some people have experienced instances of healing that they can’t explain, and why others, while not students of Christian Science, have noted that such healings aren’t necessarily miraculous, because they recognize that we can address our health in our thought.
God’s view of me as His spiritual image and likeness never changed or could change.
One example of how I have addressed health in my thought came at a time when I was testing different paint colors on the exterior of my future home. While I was reaching up high, paint dripped into one of my eyes. Because I was on a construction site, there was no running water to rinse out the eye; I couldn’t drive home without clear vision, and my husband was an hour away and couldn’t help. While it is typical to go to an emergency room in situations like this, I felt calm and confident in God that I could handle this through prayer alone.
Reasoning from a spiritual basis, I understood God, who is Spirit and infinite good, to be the only reality, which means that anything unlike Spirit or good is an unreality. Holding to the idea that God is good and that I am included in God’s good creation allowed me to remain calm, even with burning chemicals in my eye. As my thought was quieted by prayer, I noticed a plastic bottle with a little water in it. I used that water to clear my vision, and I drove home.
When I saw the appearance of the eye in the car’s rearview mirror, I was tempted to be fearful, but I continued to cling to the idea that only God, good, could coincide with my experience. As I was flushing away the rest of the paint from my eye in the sink at home, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the faucet, in which my eye appeared distorted and my head an odd, oblong shape, like you’d see in a fun house mirror. Rather than making me afraid, this reminded me that seeing myself like this was itself a distorted view of my identity. In prayer, I saw that if God, Spirit, is All, then matter is nothing, having no intelligence either to suffer or to fix or heal itself. I prayed to know that God’s view of me as His spiritual image and likeness never changed or could change. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all” (p. 468). I saw that my identity is actually entirely spiritual, not material.
Reasoning from this basis, I knew I just needed to change my perspective. I continued to pray with these ideas and with the understanding that we are one with God. When my husband came home, we prayed together for an hour and took comfort from this idea in Science and Health: “Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God’s unerring direction and thus bring out harmony” (p. 424).
I prayed until I was able to rest. When I woke up later that day, I felt more free, but I continued praying until I felt entirely comfortable. Prayer brought the understanding that God is all and fills all space; this means that spiritually, no one can ever be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This spiritual idea impressed me so much that by the following day, it felt like the genuine reality to me that the event had never truly happened. After that day, the healing was permanent. There have been no issues with my eye or vision in the year since this incident.
So, is healing a coincidence? Or was God somehow intervening to help?
Neither of these explains a Christian Science healing. Seeing in prayer that we are all spiritual and one with God changed a distorted material view of my identity to clearly seeing myself as God’s creation, and this changed my experience. God’s goodness is right here at all times and brings healing. To me, it was no coincidence that I was able to keep calm during that experience. It was also no coincidence that a clear understanding of these spiritual ideas healed my eye.
This, along with many other healings through prayer in my life and the lives of others goes to show that we can find healing by understanding God more clearly. We find that our lives aren’t subject to happenstance, but instead are governed by the law of God, who is forever with us. We find that healing results not from the coincidence of material circumstances, or from a blind faith that we can occasionally coincide with the Divine, but from the understanding of the one thing that truly exists: Spirit in perfect union with its true expression in the perfect, ongoing oneness of God’s harmonious creation.