When I was eleven and a Christian Science Sunday School student, I had a healing experience that was like riding a two-wheel bicycle for the first time. It was then that I began to know Christian Science in my heart and not just as the words I would hear from my parents.
I was on a camping trip at a summer camp for Christian Science youth. As one of the coordinators of the trip, I was responsible for helping to organize the younger boys’ activities and equipment as well as for preparing their meals. I had chosen to take on this responsibility, and I was ready to learn from anything that came up during the overnight trip.
During breakfast the morning we were to return, I was cooking bacon and pancakes in a cast-iron skillet. As I prepared enough bacon to feed a dozen hungry boys, the grease started to build up in the pan. When I was pouring out the grease into another container, I lost my steady grip on the skillet, first spilling some grease, then launching the rest into the air as I lifted the skillet up again. Hot grease landed on my hand and wrist, and the pain was severe.
Two counselors helped me clean the affected area, then walked with me about a mile back to the Christian Science nurse’s office at camp while other counselors took care of the rest of the campers. A Christian Science nurse is trained to care for physical needs without medicine when a patient chooses to rely on Christian Science treatment for complete healing. She bandaged my hand and helped me calm down. Next, I had a conversation with the Christian Science practitioner at camp, who gave me Christian Science treatment through prayer.
We talked about two ideas I could relate to at that age: the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—three young Hebrew men who were cast into a fiery furnace when they wouldn’t worship a golden image set up by the Babylonian king or serve his gods (see Daniel, chapter 3)—and Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual definition of oil in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (see p. 592). We talked about these because they had spiritual relevance for addressing what seemed to have happened to me materially.
According to the biblical account, the three young men in the fiery furnace were surrounded by heat and flames, but they must have deeply felt God’s presence during their time in the furnace. Not only were they not killed, but the Bible notes that also “upon [their] bodies the fire had no power.” When the king observed them in the furnace, he saw a fourth form with them that he described as “like the Son of God.” This meant to me that Christ was present right there with those young men. Christ is always with me. Neither being away from my home base nor feeling intense pain could separate me from God’s protection and care.
What stayed with me from the definition of oil in Science and Health was the first word, “Consecration.” To me, this meant I needed to dedicate myself to praying steadily during this healing. I decided I would turn to and learn more about God, rather than constantly checking under my bandages for evidence of progress.
Each day after that until the healing was complete, the Christian Science practitioner continued to pray, and we talked. Also, the Christian Science nurse changed the bandage. While she cared for my hand, we sat on the patio outside, and I looked up at the beautiful natural surroundings instead of down in concern at the physical evidence of burns on my hand. Each day, she needed less gauze to cover the wound until, within a week, there was no sign of the injury and no need for any more bandages. The troubling evidence had disappeared as my confidence in healing increased through prayer.
Wow! This was my first healing on my own with a practitioner and a Christian Science nurse. I’m sure someone contacted my parents to let them know what had happened to me and the progress I was making. But as far as I was concerned, this was my own opportunity to draw near to God and witness a healing through consecrated prayer to better understand my true, spiritual identity.
Just like the first time I could bike without training wheels, I was exhilarated, and I was confident from this experience that I could navigate through a Christian Science healing “on my own.”
Cerritos, California, US
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