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Conquering injury on and off the playing field

From the July 15, 1996 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

The joy of athletic performance—whether we win or lose—often depends on how well someone has prepared or how an individual reacts to competition. Physical injury on or off the playing field can threaten diligent efforts at excellence. But there is a way to guard against fear, injury, and other elements that would impinge on anyone's performance.

The Bible makes clear that God guides, protects, restores, and cures. The divine power to heal is best illustrated by Christ Jesus' work. Some may feel that his healing ability was the result of a personal power, but a closer look shows that it was a byproduct of his understanding of God and man.

He knew man to be spiritual, perfect, and eternally at one with his Father-Mother God. The healing Christ that Jesus so completely lived is ever with us, transforming us. As Paul put it, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17).

Christian Science reveals health from a spiritually mental standpoint. It enables us to "become new." As God, Spirit, is seen to be the one and only Mind, we learn the impossibility of intelligence in matter or of health being a condition of matter.

Although we seem to be made and maintained by matter, this is a counterfeit of God's man. Christ Jesus proved that man is always under God's care when he raised the lame to wholeness and the dead to life. These were not miracles in matter. They were revealing the spiritual and harmonious nature of man.

Fear of injuries can be conquered and injuries themselves are healed by understanding man's true nature. These words from Psalms are encouraging: "In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me" (56:4). And with just as much determination as an Olympic athlete, if not more, Paul declares, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).

Fear of injuries can be conquered.

A friend of mine found himself in a stressful situation where he had to "press toward the mark." He was a sophomore pitcher on the varsity baseball squad. His team was doing really well. One day my friend was pitching when all of a sudden the bases were loaded and he felt as if a thousand pounds had been dropped on his shoulders. To make matters worse, his arm began to ache. He began walking around the pitching mound pondering "the scientific statement of being." This statement is found in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy. It begins: "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). It concludes a few lines later, "Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."

My friend felt the weight lift from his shoulders. He then went on to finish that inning without allowing any runs to be scored against his team. Throughout the inning he held to the truth that God, Mind, was there guiding him. He was out there to express Mind, not to impress others. And the arm pain went away during that inning.

Reliance on personal mental or physical power would deny man's identity as omnipotent Mind's idea. It retards and restricts awareness of the source of all health—God. Focusing on body parts or fear of strains, pulls, or breaks takes thought away from God, the author and maintainer of all activity, and from the spiritual consciousness of substance that never wears out, that never can be fragmented. Nothing can injure man's usefulness to God. The spiritual expression of God, Spirit, does not include anything limiting or harmful. In reality, everyone is God's man, expressing the soundness and the infinite capabilities of Mind.

Another time while my friend was pitching, he caught a line drive with his bare hand. The next day a coach noticed that his hand was swollen and that he couldn't grip a ball. An X-ray showed a definite crack. My friend was scheduled to pitch again in four days, and he was eager to play! But he also wanted to be healed, and he knew from previous experiences that reliance on Christian Science, the law of God, was the answer.

Right after this my friend made a seven-hour drive to his girlfriend's cottage. The whole way he prayed, and as he did this, he was filled with the firm conviction and certainty that he was healed. After he arrived, he found proof of the healing in real freedom of movement. He went swimming and fishing, and wrestled with his girlfriend's brothers. When he pitched the game four days later, he struck out seven of the eight batters he faced! The hand was definitely healed.

Anyone can perceive the spiritual perfection of being through prayer and through following Mind's leading. Man is the fearless idea of Mind, not a susceptible mortal. "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Tim. 1:7).

Whether we're watching or participating in the Olympic Games, with this spiritual standpoint we see beyond the belief in matter-based life and health and understand the spiritual, incorporeal man and universe—God's glory expressed. And in God's glory there is no place for injury or the fear of one.

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