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Listen, follow, and rejoice!
One Sunday morning as I dressed for church, I realized that a favorite heirloom diamond ring, a precious gift from my mother, was missing from my hand. I had run numerous errands in the past several days and could not remember when I had last seen the ring on my finger. I had no idea where I could have dropped it. Was it in the house, in the car, or somewhere else? Panic set in as I frantically searched around the house in vain. It became obvious to me that prayer was my only option.
At times like this, I have found it helpful to recall “ ‘Feed My Sheep,’ ” a poem by Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 304). It includes the lines “I will listen for Thy voice, / Lest my footsteps stray; / I will follow and rejoice / All the rugged way.”
Psalm 46 also conveys the idea of listening: “Be still, and know that I am God” (46:10). The message for me at that moment was, “Be still, and stop criticizing yourself for being careless.” I’d learned in Christian Science that God is Mind, the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting divine intelligence. I knew that nothing could drop from or fall outside of Mind’s knowing, and I resolved to listen for Mind’s direction to find the ring.
Minutes later, assuming my post as usher at my Christian Science branch church, I silently prayed to usher in the Christ-idea—to see the perfect man of God’s creating. I thought about Mrs. Eddy’s discussion of Christly perception that begins on page 476 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.” I needed to see myself and everyone who entered the church as perfect—not careless, stupid, or absent-minded. “In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.” To me this promise meant that whatever the problem—a lost ring, ill health, an employment issue—it would be healed by beholding the perfect man. “Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.” I fervently prayed to see this perfect man and keep out all thoughts of fear, lack, limitation, and loss.
I’ve read testimonies of healings that took place during Christian Science church services, and I expected healing at this service, too. I refused to usher in any negative, fearful thought of loss. Whenever I noticed the ring missing from my finger, I specifically prayed to know that God, Mind, was in complete control. The church service was very inspiring, and by the end of it, I could understand that nothing of true value could be lost. I rejoiced to know I had not lost and could never lose my mother’s love, which this ring represented. A ring might be missing, but the love expressed by this gift could never disappear.
As I returned home after church, the idea came to look for the ring in the couch where I had been sitting the previous evening. I pulled up cushions and poked my hand in the recesses of the upholstery, but found nothing. Again the same thought came, but to poke harder. Still nothing.
Frustration mounted, but then I remembered the Bible story of the child Samuel, who heard a voice calling him three times and finally realized that it was God speaking to him (see I Samuel 3:1–10). I had been praying all morning to understand that God, Mind, was all-knowing. I now needed to obey the intuition or “voice” again, as Samuel had. This third time, I felt specifically directed to put my hand into the back corner, between the armrest and the back of the couch. I could see nothing there, but pushing my hand into the depths of the corner crevice, I could feel and then pull out the ring. It had been safely protected the entire time, but entirely hidden from view.
Gratitude for the ring’s safe return to my finger paled in comparison to my appreciation for the healing lesson echoed in “ ‘Feed My Sheep’ ”: to listen, follow, and rejoice!
—Marilyn Sue K. Fuller, Elsah, Illinois, US