Expecting and accepting dire prophecies about our health bogs us down, while reversing them in our prayers brings healing.

Originally published in December 27, 2010, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

AS A TEENAGER, I'd often look at patterns of dresses I wanted to make, and then cut out the pieces of the one I'd chosen. The expectation was that, hopefully, I would create the exact likeness of the dress I was admiring in the illustration. If I followed the pattern, I thought, Voila! The end result would be a dress made in its image.

In my healing work, I've needed to stay alert to the mortal patterns of thinking that determine our way of life, and how predictable, and sometimes unsettling, these patterns can be. One definition for the word pattern is "prescribed route." Thankfully, Christian Science teaches how to find a higher sense of things through prayer, so the "route" involves expectancy of good.

The material senses foretell that heredity is a kind of pattern that we just can't get away from, and includes susceptibility to diseases and family traits. That if we eat or do certain things, there is a material consequence, a cause-and-effect relationship. And so on. Prior to studying Christian Science, I took medicine for a wide range of allergies to food, dust, pollen, animals.

As I grew in Christian Science and began to use prayer for healing, I learned that the basic pattern of mortality—being born, growing, maturing, and then dying—is often what needs to be dealt with in prayer first. The general public readily accepts this pattern. But Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, made this statement: "Because man is the reflection of his Maker, he is not subject to birth, growth, maturity, decay. These mortal dreams are of human origin, not divine" (Science and Health, p. 305). Instead of being bound to mortality and suffering, we reflect the immortal, spiritual qualities of our Maker, God.

Genesis says that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." And also that "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (1:27, 31). I had read those verses, but had interpreted them to mean that because I was a flesh-and-blood mortal, and I was made in the image of God, God must have a form similar to mine, perhaps that of a human who was as imperfect as I was. I therefore couldn't understand how creation could be "very good." But in Christian Science, I was finding an entirely new way of looking at God, and consequently at myself as made in His image, His reflection—a spiritual idea created by Love.

Hymn 51 in the Christian Science Hymnal mentions, "Life Truth and Love the pattern make." In this hymn, the divine and eternal God is the "Potter," or Maker, whose hand fashions immortal men and women. It goes on to say that we are the "noblest work of God." Well, that sounds as if God holds us in pretty high esteem! That told me that God, who created all things good, would not make "imperfect man." We are made in His image, and as the noblest of His creation, we are not subject to sin, sickness, disease, and death. In other words, we are the spiritual evidence of God as His children, expressing Life, which includes right activity, action, function, agelessness; Truth, which is the only reality and includes honesty, sincerity, certainty, decency; and divine Love, the encompassing, comforting presence, expressed in kindness, humility, gentleness.

As a result of my studies, I found that I was able to apply what I was learning. By claiming these qualities and characteristics for myself, and that my only identity was as God's idea whose substance is spiritual, false prophesies of inability to eat certain foods, to be around animals, dust, or pollen, have faded away. In fact, I own a cat, Zimba; spend lots of time outside around flowers; and eat what I want now. And there's plenty of dust to clean in my house!

Another example of reversing material predictions through prayer happened when I was healed of a back condition a decade ago. For many years, before beginning to study Christian Science, I'd suffered from painful and chronic symptoms. I'd consulted with chiropractors, and was told by more than one that if I didn't have continual adjustments to my back, I might eventually be unable to walk. That prediction was certainly not a pleasant one! In the chiropractors' eyes, there wasn't hope for even gradual improvement—just decline. The best they could foresee was that if I continued with chiropractic treatments, I could expect to possibly continue to walk and be functional.

I went along with this for several years, seeing a chiropractor usually once or sometimes twice a week, and then was led to seek out Christian Science for an entirely different physical difficulty, which was healed. The light of spiritual understanding was beginning to dawn—that I was not a material body made up of blood, bones, tissue, muscles, vertebrae, etc., but that I was the spiritual thought, or idea, of God, who made all and declared His creation to be good.

A statement in Science and Health really helped me understand how healing takes place in Christian Science: "We must learn how mankind govern the body,—whether through faith in hygiene, in drugs, or in will-power. We should learn whether they govern the body through a belief in the necessity of sickness and death, sin and pardon, or govern it from the higher understanding that the divine Mind makes perfect, acts upon the so-called human mind through truth, leads the human mind to relinquish all error, to find the divine Mind to be the only Mind, and the healer of sin, disease, death. This process of higher spiritual understanding improves mankind until error disappears, and nothing is left which deserves to perish or to be punished" (p. 251).

The basic pattern of mortality—being born, growing, maturing, and then dying—is often what needs to be dealt with in prayer first.

Sometime during the first couple of months of my reading of Science and Health, I began to cancel first one chiropractor appointment, then another, and then another, until several months had gone by with very little discomfort in my back, and rare chiropractic treatments. I do remember on a couple of occasions in the first year of my studies, that I found myself back at the chiropractor's office. But after several months of not having to see him, when I did show up for one of my last appointments, he was quite surprised to see me and asked if I had been going to someone else. I explained to him that I was studying Christian Science, and he told me to keep it up, as there was so much improvement. There was also no further mention of the dire predictions.

After that visit, when symptoms began to reappear, I sought the prayerful support of a Christian Science practitioner. The need for the matter-based treatment soon subsided. I didn't have to go back for any more chiropractic appointments, and the healing was complete.

By acknowledging the spiritual laws of good, harmony, health, right activity, divine order, we can with certainty foresee the manifestation of the good that is already ours, revealed to us by our Father-Mother God. This higher way of seeing ourselves is available to each and every one of us. We can choose to turn away from the mortal predictions about our future, which include imperfection, sin, sickness, and death, and seek to pattern ourselves after the divine. |css

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