“God is love” (I John 4:8). Those three words, combined with the most basic ideas of Christian Science, helped me when I played in a soccer tournament.
I had been playing basketball with my friends in gym class and rolled my left ankle as I came down from a rebound. Immediately, I walked over to the side of the court and thought about the upcoming weekend. I was supposed to travel to Nevada to play in a regional soccer tournament with my team. Teams from all over Utah, Nevada, and Arizona would be participating in the tournament, which qualifies teams for nationals.
The injury happened on a Wednesday, and we were set to play our first game at 2 p.m. on Friday. I initially thought that the injury was not bad, as I had rolled my ankle many times before, so I just tried to shake it off. But this time felt different. As soon as I got home, I took my shoe off, and my ankle was very swollen. I started to pray. Although I updated my parents on the situation, I wanted to pray about this by myself since I felt it would enhance my spiritual growth.
God is absolute Love.
I went back to some ideas I had learned in the Christian Science Sunday School, like the seven synonyms for God. First, I started to pray about Spirit. God gave me all the spirit I needed to express myself fully on the field. I had passion for the game of soccer, and God supplied my energy so I could express Him. The one verse from the Bible I prayed with was, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4). I saw that the “staff” mentioned in this verse was God’s power and that He would comfort and strengthen me in times of need. I prayed with those ideas for the time leading up to the tournament and during the car ride to the event.
As I checked into the team’s hotel, a message from God came, assuring me that He is absolute Love. I thought about this idea in combination with a passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer, “And Love is reflected in love” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 17). Since God loved me unconditionally, His love radiated through me and shined in my unconditional love of soccer. I prayed with this idea of love for the rest of the night, thinking of many ways that God loved me and all of the reasons that I love soccer.
In the morning, there was still pain and swelling in my ankle, and I could not put on a cleat at first. As game time approached, my team started to offer words of support, which I saw as love coming to me from God. This example helped me better understand how God’s love works. I then had the courage to warm up, but was still skeptical about my ability to play. I’d decided that I would not play unless I had complete range of motion—I needed to be sure I wasn’t playing out of human will, but following God’s direction.
As I stepped onto the field, I said to God, “I’m playing for You.” I then felt instant relief in my ankle and had my first sprint only seconds into my time on the field. I felt no pain and was able to execute my moves flawlessly. After the game, I knew that the absence of pain wasn’t about just temporarily forgetting it, but was due to me glorifying God’s love through soccer.
Despite this victory, that night I noticed the swelling was starting to come back. I again listened for God’s messages and realized I needed to see healing through to completion. This time, instead of turning to my love of soccer as I prayed, I turned my love more directly to God. Since I absolutely loved God and was listening to Him, I saw it was important to realize He was giving me everything I needed. I prayed through that night and before our next game. I felt confident God was strengthening me, and I didn’t feel skeptical of playing by game time. When I took the field, my ankle felt normal, and there was no pain throughout the rest of the tournament and the season. After our final game, I realized that even the simplest ideas about Love heal.
Alex Mietchen is a junior in high school and lives in Utah.
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