The best gift I ever got
The summer I was 15, I was a counselor-in-training at a summer camp far away from home. The counselor in charge of our unit was a college student and a philosophy major. So we often had discussions about different religions.
One night, one of my tent-mates asked a serious question: “What would we do if Jane [meaning me] broke her leg?”
“I would pray and God would heal it,” I replied.
My tent-mates, however, were not very convinced. And truthfully, my response wasn’t very sincere.
I hadn’t really given much thought to why I was a Christian Scientist.
I had attended the Christian Science Sunday School since I was little and had also had healings through prayer. However, I hadn’t really given much thought to why I was a Christian Scientist. Attending the Church of Christ, Scientist, was what my family did. Christian Scientists were who we were. I often felt different from everyone else and constantly had to defend this “strange” church we attended.
Shortly after that conversation I developed a head cold that became so bad that I completely lost my hearing. There was no phone to call a Christian Science practitioner. No way to contact my parents, who were on vacation. But my mom had packed my Bible and my copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I hadn’t even looked at them for the two weeks I had been at camp, but now I decided to get them out.
At night, after everyone went to sleep, I would go down to the outhouse with my flashlight and would read my Bible and Science and Health. The third night I read this passage: “Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind” (p. 1 ). The phrase “God’s gracious means” hit me like a thunderclap.
I realized that Christian Science was not just another religion, not just another church. It was “God’s gracious means” for us to experience health, happiness, success, because it illuminates our true identities as God created and loved us—spiritual and perfect. I saw for the first time that Christian Science was completely God-given, not man-made. It wasn’t something some person thought up. Wow! I realized what a gift Christian Science was, and I felt so loved by God and overwhelmed with gratitude.
I realized I belonged to God, along with all His children. God cares for all of us. I wasn’t different because I was a Christian Scientist. Because of what I’d been taught in Sunday School, I was aware of God’s healing power, but that healing power was available to everyone, even though they might not know it. It was universal.
I realized what a gift Christian Science was, and I felt so loved by God.
It was then that I realized I could hear the crickets chirping—the first sound I’d heard in days! I was healed. I also knew that Christian Science was the only way of worshipping and serving God that I would ever want. I would practice Christian Science out of gratitude to God. It was my way to thank Him. It was the truth, straight from God to each one of His children. God’s provision for healing and taking care of every need.
The next morning, when everyone saw that I was 100 percent well and that I could hear normally again, they said, “We’re not afraid for you anymore. God really does heal you and take care of you.”
And I was genuine this time when I replied, “And He takes care of you, too.”
In the years since, I’ve seen that Christian Science really is all that I glimpsed it to be during that summer at camp—and in fact, even more.