Q: Dealing with a problem through Christian Science seems like so much work. Why go to the effort to have a healing when you can just solve things in an easier way?
A: It was the middle of the night when I woke up feeling sick. Only half-conscious and in pain, I began praying for myself as I have many times in the past—often with quick results. But this time, hours and hours had passed and I was still struggling. I found myself thinking, Why is this taking so much work? Why can’t I have a quick healing?
I didn’t need to go through some process before I could be healed.
Flash back to a couple of summers earlier, when I’d had a very different experience with prayer. I’d tripped on some stairs and, as I rolled over my ankle, felt a sharp crack.
No worries, the thought quickly came. I can pray through this and have a healing! But what immediately followed was a wake-up call from God: Why pray through an accident? Why not just keep praying?
To me, this meant I didn’t need to go through some process before I could be healed. I could simply keep trusting and living what I’ve learned through Christian Science about God’s, divine Love’s, total care for me. And with this spirit of fresh joy and gratitude for how always-present and powerful God is, I was completely free of pain and moving normally.
Now, an account like that may seem intended to inspire you to realize that healing doesn’t have to take work. But not every healing is realized this quickly. And unfortunately, at least for me, after reading another’s testimony that sounds so “easy,” the temptation often comes to compare myself to others and criticize myself for not having more quick healings.
This points to the need to understand more clearly what “work” really means, whether we’re talking about finding healing, persisting with a project, or doing anything else in life—and whether it’s going quickly or slowly.
So now let’s return to the more recent situation—the one when I woke up feeling sick and many hours later still wasn’t making much headway. On top of the discomfort, I even found myself thinking about that earlier healing of my ankle and wondering, Why can’t I just have a quick healing like I did then? I was definitely comparing myself, but to an earlier version of myself, instead of to someone else!
But right on the heels of that unproductive line of thinking, some surprising questions came: What is the work you are doing? Are you trying to make yourself better? Or is your work to keep honoring God?
Admittedly, this message from God didn’t exactly make me jump for joy; I very much wanted just to be free from pain and didn’t want what sounded like a lecture. But I slowly became interested in this idea of clarifying what my work really is, and I even realized that instead of battling symptoms, doubts, fear, self-criticism, and so on, I could choose to “work” by trusting God and all that I know God to be: pure Spirit, the Principle of the entire universe, my dear Shepherd.
Instead of battling symptoms, doubts, and fear, I could choose to “work” by trusting God and all that I know God to be.
From that moment on, even though it was still quite a few hours before I was back to normal, there was a massive difference. Within 15 minutes, I had a very clear, heartening sense that all was well. I was completely free from fear, and even though my body didn’t seem free, I felt free—through the empowering, loving presence and strength of God—to choose where my thought would rest. And I rested it in God, reflecting on His totally good nature.
By the end of that day, I was completely healed, and I didn’t spend a moment more thinking about the time it had taken. What I was left with was a deep gratitude for more clarity about God’s permanence, and the understanding that healing, or anything we do, isn’t about working hard to accomplish something. Instead, it’s like what this passage from Philippians says: “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (2:13). God is the One who works; we have the right, no matter what’s going on, to consciously respond to His work—to be more conscious of all that God is than we are of comparisons, doubt, frustration, or fear. That’s the real work of healing. In the calm stillness of knowing we have the right to stop personally working so hard, we can respond to, and persist in, feeling the presence of divine Love.