Picture yourself in the jungle of Costa Rica. The air is thick with moisture and filled with the sounds of insects and birds. That’s where I was in eighth grade—having fun in an exotic forest with my friends on a class trip.
But then, halfway through the trip, I started feeling sick, and I couldn’t eat or even look at my food. I decided to go back to my hotel room instead of staying at the restaurant we were at. As I left, I couldn’t help feeling angry that I was missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I felt weak, hopeless, and overall just sorry for myself.
Although I don’t remember falling asleep, I must have, because the next thing I remember is waking up to see my friends sitting on the end of my bed. I was traveling with a group of Christian Scientists, and they had brought along a copy of the Christian Science Bible Lesson and were reading it to me. I felt so calm and cared for, and so happy that my friends were there for me. I felt encircled in love.
I realized I needed to start actively praying for myself to feel God’s goodness and to understand more about my being as God truly made me. I had been healed before by praying this way.
I was completely healed, and I was able to have a lot of fun with my friends.
I started by thinking about the Lord’s Prayer from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Bible (see Matthew 6:9–13). That prayer has always comforted me, and as I prayed with it, more inspiration came to thought. I also remembered how my mom likes to remind me that because God is good, when we express good, we feel close to God. I knew I had been expressing grace and obedience throughout the trip, so I could expect to feel the presence of God’s goodness, rather than sickness. With this thought, I found I was able to eat a little and participate in the activities for the rest of the day.
The next morning, we were scheduled to go on a hike through the rainforest. At first, I was excited to go on the hike. But then I thought it would be impossible, since I hadn’t eaten much in the last 48 hours and wasn’t at my full strength. I felt disappointed again at the thought of missing out on a fantastic opportunity.
I told my teacher what I was thinking about, and she reassured me that I had lots of support. She showed me a text from a Christian Science practitioner, who had been praying for our entire class during the trip. This practitioner knew that I hadn’t been feeling well and had texted me Hymn 139 from the Christian Science Hymnal. The first verse reads:
I walk with Love along the way,
And O, it is a holy day;
No more I suffer cruel fear,
I feel God’s presence with me here;
The joy that none can take away
Is mine; I walk with Love today.
(Minny M. H. Ayers, adapt. © CSBD)
This hymn helped me see that nothing can take away the joy and strength that God has given to each of us. As His spiritual creation, we have the divine right to express every quality of God at every moment. Throughout the hike, I sang this hymn to myself, and not only did I feel strong enough to walk the entire hike, but I was also able to eat lunch that day. Soon I was completely healed, and I was able to have a lot of fun with my friends during the rest of the trip.
This experience taught me that God is with us wherever we are and that each of us can know and feel God’s joyful presence anywhere.