BUILDING ON PRAYER IN ALASKA
Last summer, I got the opportunity to work in the vast landscape of Alaska.
My uncle had offered two of my cousins and me a job constructing a cabin on a speck of land about two hours north of Anchorage. During my stay, there were many instances where I felt completely protected by God's unrelenting care. We were able to complete several projects efficiently. Also, the support I felt from my entire extended family reflected the joy and love that radiate from God.
One day, I had a wooden support beam roll onto my arm as I was building. The beam was so heavy I couldn't move it, and it pinned my arm in a very uncomfortable position for about 30 seconds. But I actually felt completely calm. And it occurred to me that something "supportive," like the beam, represents qualities of strength and stability. These were qualities with a spiritual foundation behind them. And since God supported me, He wouldn't let harm come to me in any way. My cousins and uncle were nearby and were soon able to run over and quickly move the beam. There was no resulting injury to my arm.
Another opportunity to observe God's work in action was when my uncle's lost dog was found. One morning my cousin David and I decided to take a run down a forested road. It was a beautiful day, and my uncle's older dog, Mick, chose to follow us. However, we didn't realize she was behind us, and when she was not able to keep up, Mick lost her way. When David and I got back, we realized that Mick was missing, and we took a couple, of ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) to go look for her. The family was concerned because Mick was unable to hear, so we knew that whistles and calls would not draw her home. We also wanted to be sure that she was aware of the cars that might to zooming up behind her.
Right away, I started praying with a few simple but powerful ideas. The first was a saying I'd learned as a little kid in Sunday School: "There is no spot where God is not." This truth helped me know that Mick was taken care of no matter where she was. Since God is omnipresent, Mick could never be alone, even for a split second. Parts of this verse from Hymn 148 in the Christian Science Hymnal came to me as well:
In heavenly Love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The part that was the clearest to me was the second line. I knew Mick's situation had not changed. She was still perfectly safe in God's care, and that remained constant.
Within a short amount of time, David and I saw my uncle standing next to a lady's car. The lady had found Mick and called the number on her tag. Mick had been a little scared, but she seemed unaffected.
But perhaps the most dramatic proof I had of God's care came while we were working to build two platforms and a gazebo, in preparation for a cousin's wedding. We, along with extended family and friends, had to construct 4,300 square feet within a week, and it required a lot of time and dedication in order to complete it. Thanks to the Alaskan midnight sun, we were able to put in some long days.
During the rush, I was in charge of nailing sets of panels together to support the deck. There were many panels to clasp together, and I was using a nail gun, moving at a rapid speed and not paying as much attention as I needed to. One of the nails that I drove into the wood ricocheted off a knot and flew into my hand. For the first few seconds, I didn't fully realize what had happened. So I pulled the nail out, and my uncle brought me into the house to get me some bandages and wash the wound.
My vision began to blur, and I had to sit down on the couch. But at that moment, the thought "God is my Saviour" popped into my head. With this inspiration, the pain completely disappeared. I could see clearly that God's saving care was so immediate and strong, and so it made sense that the healing of pain happened instantly. It had not actually occurred to me to pray immediately after the accident, but this firm angel message just came charging in, singing loud and clear that God was right there beside me. Thoughts about consequences that could occur after the nail entered my hand completely dissolved.
My mom was on a camping trip, and my dad was also out of cellphone range, so I wasn't able to reach them right away. My uncle wanted to take me to a local clinic to make sure there was no possibility of infection or other aftereffects. I agreed in order to make everyone around me comfortable, but I felt certain that healing in my thoughts had already taken place. As we drove to the clinic, I called my dad again and was able to tell him what had happened. The clinic ended up being closed that day. And since my aunt and uncle could see that I was OK and the wound was already healing on my hand, they didn't insist on making the trip to the clinic another day. They also were aware of the healings my family had experienced before through Christian Science. When I was able to check in with my dad again, we shared spiritual ideas together and I told him how I'd been praying.
During that week, I kept firmly in mind the description of man (which refers to the spiritual concept of who we are, both male and female) from Science and Health. It says: "Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God" (p. 475). Within a week of the incident, there was no evidence of any injury.
My cousin's wedding was fun, filled with harmony, and represented the love that comes from God. All our hard work on the platforms was worth it. There had been a lot of spiritual growth, and you could even say I built on what I'd been taught in Christian Science.