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FOR TEENS

PRAYER AND THE MISSING BUS PASS

From the February 23, 2009 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


I used to scan through Christian Science magazines in order to find examples of the "biggest" healings and usually ignored articles that didn't seem so amazing or cool. Only recently did I learn that sometimes even the smallest challenges in life can turn into the "biggest" of healings.

On a warm summer afternoon, I was getting ready to head home after a shopping trip downtown. But as I was paying for my things in a store, I realized that I was missing my monthly bus pass, which I needed to use to get home. This was also upsetting because I'd spent good money on it. I followed my steps back to every location that I'd gone to, but it was nowhere to be found. After momentarily panicking, I realized that I had to rely on God because the situation was out of my control.

The quote "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" came to me (Science and Health, p. 494). This situation, I realized, could be a perfect opportunity for me to fully understand what the author, Mary Baker Eddy, meant, and also a chance to glorify God in my prayers. After repeating the line from Science and Health to myself a few times, I decided to break it down and really think deeply about each word. The word divine was especially meaningful to me because I'd heard divinity used in reference to things that are sacred, beautiful, gentle, and kind. But I also played with the idea that divinity was sturdy and all-powerful-something in which I could put all my trust. The next word, Love, referred to God. I remembered how I'd seen so many people that day reflecting this Love and being influenced by it. I remembered how I'd had a friendly conversation with a woman in a store and how a car had patiently stopped for me at an intersection. These were examples of God's love in action. As I thought about these things, I felt so grateful for, and full of, that love. But the next part of the sentence was harder to understand at first. How could "every human need" be met when so much injustice was happening all around the world?

Whether it was war, or something as small as a missing bus pass, I struggled with this concept that things often seemed out of order and harmony was hard to find. However, I finally realized that the difference between a problem left unhealed, and a problem healed, is that tiny leap of trust and acceptance of the truth. It's like trying to fly an airplane, but still keeping one wheel on the ground out of fear that the law of physics will not work for you. But once you get that wheel off the ground, you can take off into the sky with ease.

Soon, I realized that I had enough money to cover my bus fare, so I didn't have to be afraid of getting stranded. But as my bus showed up, I still had no idea where my monthly pass was. I continued to pray, actually not in order to find it, but because it felt so lovely to keep my thoughts focused on God.

After a few minutes on the road, I had the thought that God's law of harmony was more realistic than any limiting material law. I'd taken some science classes before, in which I'd learned about scientific laws that supposedly run the universe. But I came to the understanding that it didn't matter if my possessions were floating off into space, under a mile of ocean, or even burned up by fire! I knew that God would always provide what I needed. I didn't need to worry about how or when I would find that bus pass. After praying in this way, I felt so much joy and confidence.

As the bus rolled toward my neighborhood, I realized that I didn't want the joy I was feeling to evaporate. It was becoming easier to see the power of divine Love, and the weakness of anything that tried to defy this power. I decided that no matter what other situations might come up, I wasn't going to let my joy be taken away. For example, when I came home to an empty house, I was grateful that there was not anyone there to distract me from what became a prayer about things much bigger than my tiny problem.

For the next hour or two, I lay down and continued to pray. I was amazed that, unlike with most of my other attempts, I didn't fall asleep. Instead, I gained more energy by the minute. In the past, I'd often tried to imagine how my healings would happen, but with this case of my missing bus pass, even though I was totally interested in how things would turn out, I didn't "outline" the results of my prayer. Soon, a thought told me to take some books off my shelf. And I obeyed without knowing what was going to happen. When I was taking down the last book, I opened up the cover-flap, and found ... four bus tickets and two dollars inside. I was amazed and filled with appreciation. The dollars covered exactly what I'd paid to go home, and the tickets would be my bus fare for several days.

For the next few days, I decided to keep praying and to finish only when I felt at peace about the situation with the bus pass. I knew that just going to the store and getting another pass wouldn't necessarily be the answer. Sure enough, I learned through some interesting circumstances, that a friend had an extra bus pass that she was all too willing to give to me. This unexpected gift was just what I needed.

This experience has helped me find a quiet sense of assurance. Even when big challenges come my way, I can have the confidence to believe that Love always has and will meet my need. ♦

The Sentinel's Teen Editor, Jenny Roemer, wants to read about your ideas and experiences. Send her an e-mail! roemerj@csps.com Subject: Sentinel teens


Grace Gillis is a senior in high school and an active branch church member in Portland, Oregon.

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