Healed after a chemical burn
This past spring, during my sophomore year of high school, I had an opportunity to put Christian Science into practice in a way that I never had before.
One day during chemistry class, we were doing an experiment that involved holding a flame up to a glass beaker of chemicals. As I was in the middle of this, the beaker exploded an inch or two from my hand, and glass and chemicals were sprayed all over me. I never received a formal diagnosis, but I was told that the wound on my hand included third-degree burns. There were burns on my arm and neck as well.
Almost immediately, I recognized that I needed to be absolutely firm that an accident couldn’t touch my spiritual being. I remember being very clear in my denial of error and affirmation of the truth—that I could never for a moment be separated from God—while I was being taken to the nurses’ office at school. I was very calm and trusted that God was with me. My mom came to pick me up from school very shortly, and we decided together that I would go to the nearby Christian Science nursing facility where Christian Science nurses thoroughly cleaned my hand, arm, and neck, and bandaged everything. I returned there every day, often twice a day. I am very grateful for the loving care I received from the Christian Science nurses there. Their care provided a sense of comfort, as did the spiritual truths I prayed with.
When I called a Christian Science practitioner that day, she read to me from Hymn No. 123 in the Christian Science Hymnal. Its message about protection “through fiery trials” really spoke to me, and assured me that I would be “upheld by [God’s] gracious, omnipotent hand.” The practitioner read to me how “the flame shall not hurt thee,” which was also very reassuring.
In that week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson, the word hand appeared 17 times. One of the first citations I read was a quote from Isaiah: “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (41:13). This quote, along with the stories in the Lesson of Jesus healing the man with a withered hand and God restoring Moses’ hand, helped me a lot. These were clear examples to me of the dominion of God and how that same omnipotent power that healed in the Bible could help me, too.
I also turned to the 91st Psalm and Hymn No. 350; both are favorites of mine. The seventh verse of the psalm reads, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee.” And part of the hymn goes,
Precious is the Love that healed us,
Perfect is the grace that sealed us,
Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us;
All, all is well.
I also prayed with ideas to counter the sense that there had been an accident. The suggestion was that I was subject to chance, to material circumstances. I needed to see that there is one power and one power only, God. Either this is true, and I am completely spiritual, or I am governed by matter and chance. I accepted the spiritual reality, leaving no room in my thought that there could be any moment when God’s power wasn’t governing. I needed to see that a picture of error had no reality or place in my spiritual being.
I prayed with these ideas and many more over the course of the spring, during which I continued to be supported by the wonderful Christian Science practitioner and my mother, who learned how to bandage my hand herself. The burns on my arm and neck healed very quickly, and I felt surrounded by Love as the healing of my hand moved right along. I only had to miss two weeks of my lacrosse season, and after that I was able to play freely while the healing progressed. The day after the incident, I was back at school, too.
My hand was completely functional within about five weeks. The only trace of the wound was a small mark, which has since faded to the point that it is almost unnoticeable.
This healing was a great opportunity for me to let my light shine at my school. People were surprised that I didn’t go to the emergency room or use any pain medications. Not many people know that I’m a Christian Scientist (I’m the only one at my school), but word spread and both students and teachers became very inquisitive. I had to deal with a lot of suggestions from those around me, like, “Your hand is never going to look the same again,” or “When are you going to take off the bandage?” But I saw that when I kept a prayerful thought and remained calm while people voiced their concerns, eventually their fears lessened.
This experience really means so much to me. I can always look back on it as a proof of God’s protection and care, and I know that I will never forget it.
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, US
I am Nathan’s mom. What remains from any healing in Christian Science are the spiritual lessons learned. In the case of Nathan’s recent experience, the lessons were abundant! It was so gratifying to see the many pages of notes that Nathan wrote during this time about what he was learning, and how he could see that “trials are proofs of God’s care” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 66).
When I got the phone call from the high-school nurse asking me to come take Nathan to the emergency room, I immediately reached out to God for help. During the drive there, I claimed that man is only “clad in the panoply of Love” (Science and Health, p. 571) and that no accident could ever separate Nathan from God’s presence and care. I was grateful for the sense of calm Nathan was expressing when I picked him up. Our family has always found reliance on spiritual prayer to take care of physical challenges to be effective and comforting, so it seemed natural to go to the nearby Christian Science nursing care facility. We were welcomed by loving Christian Science nurses, who tended to Nathan’s hand in a fearless and practical manner. The pain lessened almost immediately after a practitioner was called.
When we returned home that evening, Nathan’s science teacher came to our house and brought a sweet card that his classmates had made for Nathan. The teacher was very caring and solicitous, and I think he was reassured that Nathan’s needs were being met.
It was wise to have the bandages changed frequently, and the Christian Science nurses were always patient, caring, and spiritually minded during these visits. Eventually I was able to change the bandages myself, and we continued to visit the nursing facility periodically to check in and get more supplies.
Nathan was able to continue his activities with relative freedom. For us, it was a time of being under scrutiny by the school community, and it provided an opportunity to quietly demonstrate our trust in God’s care. At one point, the chairman of the science department and I had a wonderful conversation about the healing effectiveness of Christian Science, and I was able to share several healings that our family has had in the past. He said that as a physical scientist, he was clearly seeing in his field the beneficial effects that spirituality has on one’s health.
When Nathan went to overnight camp for the summer, he and I continued to pray together to claim the blessing of a full healing. At times Nathan was discouraged because there was a scar that had lessened but was still obvious. The practitioner had told us that a lie appears only to disappear. It required of Nathan (and me!) even more mental discipline to keep clear in thought that his identity as a spiritual image and likeness of God had never been impaired or was never made to be incomplete or capable of being damaged. Mrs. Eddy says, “Only through radical reliance on Truth can scientific healing power be realized” (Science and Health, p. 167). Nathan and I talked on the phone about how it was a minute-by-minute discipline to challenge any thought that presented itself as not having its source in God, Spirit, and to then only reason spiritually—regardless of what the hand looked like. This was an expression of our love for God, our trust in God, and our gratitude for all the freedom gained.
There were healings and articles in the Christian Science periodicals that were very helpful to us during this time as well. Two articles were especially encouraging: “Uninterrupted Continuity of Good” by Anna E. Herzog (Sentinel, May 1, 1937) and “In spiritual healing, matter doesn’t matter” by Corinne Jane Teeter (The Christian Science Journal, March 1993).
As Nathan has said, any remnant of a mark has become virtually unnoticeable.
Words cannot express adequately my gratitude for this healing. I will remain forever grateful for the dear Christian Science nurses and practitioner who faithfully supported Nathan. As a mother, I can think of no better way to care for children than to practice Christian Science and to look moment by moment to God, as my Parent, for His angel messages that tell us that we are God’s loved children, always whole and complete, and never separated from good.Debbie Bermel