Many years ago my husband and I traveled to Europe to visit my sister and her husband, who was stationed there in the military. We spent Christmas and New Year’s in their home, and after the holidays we all set off together to ski at various locations in Europe.
On the last part of our trip, we were walking through a large city from one train station to another, carrying our skis over our shoulders and wearing heavy backpacks. The streets were icy and I suddenly slipped, but rather than falling, I was able to stay on my feet and right myself by force.
That night we reached my sister’s home, and I fell asleep on her couch. When I awoke, I could not sit up, and my back was in terrible pain. I was finally able to get to bed but just lay there in the dark, thinking how horrible it was to feel incapacitated far from home. Fears rushed in: Is this how our wonderful trip is going to end, without being able to see any more of Europe? Will I have to be carried onto the plane to get home?
I didn’t like those thoughts, so I began to pray. My sister is also a Christian Scientist, and I knew she was praying with me that night, although I do not remember us talking about the injury.
I do remember thinking about the statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that there are no accidents: “Under divine Providence there can be no accidents, since there is no room for imperfection in perfection” (p. 424). Yet there I was in great pain as the result of an accidental slip. I remember praying and thinking that if the incident never happened with God, and it truly was unknown to Him, then I needed to stop replaying the slip-and-fall scene in my head like a bad video endlessly replayed on the evening news.
Even though I was desperate for relief and feeling rather alone, I was also able to reason that if God didn’t know about an accident, the accident didn’t really happen, and I couldn’t be injured. To help me, I affirmed truths from the Bible and Science and Health that I knew by heart. God was the only healing power I had ever turned to as I was growing up, and I was comfortable relying on prayer now, too. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep.
The next morning I walked into my sister’s kitchen and sat carefully on a stool, rejoicing in the progress. For the next two days I spent time praying and studying the Bible and Science and Health.
I don’t remember every idea I worked with, but I do remember that my mom had given me a note when we’d left on the trip. She could tell that I had a little concern about traveling in so many parts of the world and not being sure of my ability to communicate and understand directions. The note included reminders of Bible verses, such as that God would protect my “going out and … coming in,” now and forever (Psalms 121:8), and that even if we took the “wings of the morning, and dwell[ed] in the uttermost parts of the sea,” God was right there (Psalms 139:9).
She ended her note with, “Remember, you are not just matter traveling around in matter.” She said we were God’s spiritual creations and could not be separated from God, good.
The pain began to leave rather quickly, and I steadily regained freedom of movement. Three days later I was able to put on my backpack, and my husband and I spent the rest of our trip traveling by train and sightseeing, walking all day and sometimes sleeping on trains.
After we returned home as scheduled, I realized that there was a small painful place in my back that bothered me during some exercise. I thought about and prayed with this statement in Science and Health, especially the “relaxes rigid muscles” portion: “Christian Science acts as an alterative, neutralizing error with Truth. It changes the secretions, expels humors, dissolves tumors, relaxes rigid muscles, restores carious bones to soundness. The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind” (p. 162).
Soon there was not even a small reminder of the incident, and I have remained free from back pain over the many years since that trip, swimming, skiing, camping, etc. I am grateful for Christian Science and especially for my education in the Christian Science Sunday School, which taught me that God is always with me.
Tempe, Arizona, US
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