GOD HAD NEVER LEFT
During high school, I'd been playing basketball a lot and sometimes had practices on Sunday mornings. It just felt like I didn't have much time to go to church. Being away from Sunday school, I kind of drifted away from praying about things. I had a lot going on and didn't even know if I wanted to be a Christian Scientist anymore. My friends didn't seem to understand what it was all about, and it was tough to feel different.
But last fall, when I was a senior, I'd been feeling more and more peace in my inner life after returning to Sunday School. And I'd been inspired to try to start reading the Bible all the way through, as well as Science and Health. I'd studied the 23rd Psalm, and there was one part I really liked: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" (verse 4). To me, that meant that when I'm afraid or worried, I can think of God's promise to be with me always. I also studied "the scientific statement of being" from Science and Health. It starts: "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'd been learning that my life is spiritual, not based on material circumstances, and also how God is the only power.
What fully brought me back to Christian Science was a healing that happened in my house during a day off from school. It was around lunchtime, and I'd decided to eat some chicken. As I was eating, a bone became Iodged deep in my throat. Time went in slow motion at that point. I was choking, and there was no one in the house to help me.
For the first three seconds, I was telling myself there wasn't much I could do. Should I call the police, or try to perform the Heimlich maneuver on myself? But in the next few seconds, my thoughts quickly shifted to God. I thought about what I'd learned in Christian Science. This was all happening so fast that I didn't have time to think too much about how I should pray. However, the simple thought came that God was really taking care of me. And I felt the effects of this prayer immediately. The chicken bone started to come up, and I spit it out. Putting trust in God is what got me through that emergency situation. Afterward, I thanked God, knowing that He'd never left my side the whole time.
Another challenge I dealt with happened when playing the guitar became very difficult. I seriously thought about giving it up. One of my favorite things to do was to come up with new songs, but I was in a "writer's rut." So I turned to God in prayer for help. I knew that the joy of my involvement with the guitar had its source in God, Soul. And He helps me express Soul through my musical ideas. When I thought about my music that way, lyrics and melodies started to flow. I even practiced more; picking up the guitar became fun again.
Praying was also helpful while I waited to receive acceptance letters from colleges for this coming fall. One of the three colleges I applied to was my first and favorite choice. When I got anxious during the waiting period, I took the idea that no matter what college I attended, God would make it a fantastic experience. I was leaning on God's goodness and plan for me, and not only on my own ideas. It turned out that I now have the opportunity to attend the college that I was most interested in. I'm thankful, knowing that I'll be equipped with God's love and able to express it throughout my college experience.
It's been really great to apply the truths that I've recently been studying from the Bible and Science and Health. The last verse of Psalm 23 from the Bible is a good one: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long" (New Revised Standard Version). Now I know that I dwell in the safety of God's house. It's comforting to think about all of God's goodness that will be with me at college this fall. I'm glad I came back to Christian Science, and I know God is in control of my life.
PRAYER HAS GOOD RESULTS
During the summer of 2007, I went to an adventure camp for Christian Science youth in Colorado for the first time. I had a great time biking, rafting, backpacking, and hanging out with my friends. Along with these activities, I was also enjoying the opportunity to grow spiritually in my understanding of God. I was learning to rely more on Him for healing with any type of challenge.
An opportunity for healing came on the last night of camp. I woke up in the middle of the night with a really bad stomachache. I didn't want this to ruin my memory of the trip. So I waited to see if it would go away by itself and tried to ignore it, but that didn't help at all. Then I moved around to try to ease the pain, but it became clear that prayer was the best and most reliable option. I'd learned about healing through prayer in Christian Science Sunday School. So I knew that God was right there with me, giving me comforting and healing ideas. Even though my counselors would've been glad to stay up with me had Ichosen to wake them up, it felt right to walk to the bathroom to find some quiet space to pray.
At first, I could only think about how terrible I felt. To help me calm down, I began to think about hymns I'd memorized from the Christian Science Hymnal. Up to that point, my thoughts had been clouded with fear that I'd be uncomfortable for the rest of the night.
A couple of the hymns I prayed with were, "Brood o'er us" (No. 30) and "I walk with Love along the way" (No. 139). They really helped me build the basis for my prayers. Hymn No. 412 was very applicable: "O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking, / O captive, rise and sing, for thou art free." Until that point I'd felt like a captive of the pain. But as I prayed, I realized that the Christ freed me so I could have clear, calm thoughts and listen to God even more.
After calming down, I began to give myself a Christian Science treatment—or prayer that realizes God's goodness and my relationship to Him, and also denies power to thoughts that are opposed to good. Although I knew there was no formula to giving these treatments, our Sunday School class had talked about helpful things to consider:
START WITH GOD
I thought about the definition of God from Science and Health, that He is "all-acting" and "all-loving" (p. 587). I prayed to know that God, good is the only power, and that He didn't make pain. God is also totally loving, and it was awesome to know that God was loving me right then.
KNOW THAT MAN (AS THE TERM FOR MEN AND WOMEN) IS GOD'S CHILD
Because we're all God's children, made in His image, we naturally include qualities like health, happiness, and peace.
PRAY TO REALIZE THAT SICKNESS AND PAIN HAVE NO POWER OVER ME
That was when I really took a stand to know that I was perfectly healthy, even if it didn't appear that way at the moment. I could confidently know that the stomachache was not a part of me. Because I'm God's child, I constantly express health.
ADDRESS FEARFUL THINKING
I'd learned that animal magnetism, or fearful matter-based thinking, tries to stop our spiritual growth. But I prayed to know that fear didn't have substance and it couldn't bully me.
SEAL, OR PROTECT, THE TREATMENT
I affirmed that my prayers were effective and couldn't be reversed. This was an important last step because it really gave the Christian Science treatment finality and power. God gives each of us the ability to heal, and I knew prayers are powerful!
Soon after considering these ideas, I knew that I'd experienced a change in my thinking, which indicates healing. I was still feeling pain, but I knew it no longer had a foundation in my thought, so it was only a matter of time before it would disappear. And sure enough, in only a few minutes, the pain left and I felt peaceful and healthy. Walking back to my bed, I realized that I didn't have to throw up to "clean out my system"; I'd simply had a healing.
Later, when I was in bed, the pain tried to creep back in, but I remained firm that the healing had taken place. The pain completely went away, and I went back to sleep feeling fine. The next day I woke up refreshed and ready for my final day at camp, all the goodbyes and sharing of highlights. I ended the session very grateful for this healing and many smaller ones I'd experienced throughout my time at camp.
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