When the big test was looming

I felt like a fish out of water. It was freshman year of high school, and I was taking a class my father had strongly recommended: Latin. Latin is what’s known as a “dead language” because it’s not spoken—only read and chanted in some churches. And while I’d tried hard to learn the grammar and vocabulary, it was clearly not my thing. As the first big test approached, I felt frozen with fear that I wouldn’t do well—or even pass. 

The day before the test, I came home from school and prayed about what I could do to be more prepared. I’d learned in Christian Science Sunday School that whenever I needed help or guidance, I could always pray, and hear good, intelligent ideas from God that would move me in the right direction. But what came to me as I prayed seemed illogical: Read the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson, which is found in the Christian Science Quarterly. I didn’t know how that would help me do well on my Latin test. But I obeyed. 

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What came to me as I prayed seemed illogical.

I read that Lesson several times over several hours, because each time I finished it and asked God for direction, the thought came strongly to me to read it again. The Lesson that week happened to be very heavy on chapters 1 and 2 in Genesis. I read parts of those chapters in the Bible portions of the Lesson and then the exegesis (explanation) of those verses in the chapter titled “Genesis” in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. So I ended up reading each part several dozen times. I was getting a new understanding of these two chapters, seeing Genesis 1 as the unfoldment of God’s creation to His creation. The concept of unfoldment stood out to me and bolstered my understanding of the spiritual creation in which we all live.

I then reviewed my Latin course for about an hour and went to bed, feeling more certain of God’s control of the universe and me, but having no idea what would happen the next day.

The next morning, when I opened the test, I found that the task was to translate two texts—one into English from Latin, the second from English into Latin. The two texts were Genesis chapters one and two! (Interestingly, this was a public school, so I could never have predicted a Bible-based translation.) Since I had the two chapters memorized after all those hours of study, I could do Genesis 1 without batting an eye. The translation of Genesis 2 was slightly more difficult, since I had to look for similar words in Latin in the first chapter. But clearly, I had studied exactly the right thing.

I had studied exactly the right thing.

I got much better than a passing grade. Even better, having realized what a rich experience studying with this teacher could be, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the year in my Latin course. Since then, I’ve even found Latin useful in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I took the class.

This definitely proved to be one of those experiences Mrs. Eddy was talking about when she wrote, “Step by step will those who trust Him find that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ ”(Science and Health, p. 444). Even several decades later, the realization has never left me that I am not the source of intelligence; God, Mind, is. And when we listen to God and follow Mind’s leadings, no test or trial is too hard, and no solution is out of reach.

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