When a baby is expected in a family, there is such a happy atmosphere of expectation. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, the whole family on both sides, are delighted at the good news.
As the news goes out, within and beyond the family, the parents begin to receive a great deal of advice. All want to share the benefit of their experience. When it has been a good one, it can bring reassurance and strength to the expectant mother. But if someone has had a difficult time during pregnancy or later with the baby, and the whole event is described rather graphically, it might fill the new mother-to-be with fear and doubt. Could such a thing possibly happen to her or her child? Sometimes these fears are voiced, and sometimes just suppressed, though still lurking in the back of thought. Is there something we can do to make the time of waiting for the new baby a happy one, free of anxieties, filled with the certain expectancy of good?
A young woman I know had become interested in learning about God. A friend of hers had given her the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science. As this woman read the book, she was delighted to discover the wonderful truth of God's absolute goodness, and the fact that God is Life, the only source of life.
A few weeks later she realized she was pregnant. In the early months she was not well; there was bleeding and, later, fever. She wanted to turn to God for healing, but her husband, her mother, and the rest of the family, who were very fearful, insisted on medical treatment. Since she herself was new in her study, she yielded to their wishes. She was advised to stay in bed and take some pills daily for the rest of the pregnancy. After taking medicine for nearly a month, she still was not cured. At this point she stopped the medication because she felt it was not helping her. She decided to turn to God completely through her study of Christian Science. She was quickly healed.
What was it that gave her the conviction that God would heal her? Throughout the months before her child was born, she studied daily to understand more clearly the true concept of creation. No human individual actually has the capacity to create life. The Bible starts off with the words "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Gen. 1:1.
What does God create? Does He make material identities with physical bodies? God is not physical; He is Spirit. He creates spiritual identities like Himself. This woman realized that she was not the creator of the real, spiritual identity of this child. Her thought shifted from seeing creation as physical to understanding its spiritual basis. The welfare of the child's spiritual identity did not depend on any human circumstance or event. It depended solely on the love and care of God. Fears voiced by her family, which she had taken into her own thought, just vanished.
At the time she was bleeding, her doctor had asked for a sonogram. The report stated that the placenta was not in the correct position, that it might jeopardize the child's life, and possibly her own, during delivery. She was not frightened by this verdict. She knew that, as God creates all identities, so He creates all law, and that there is a law of God already in operation which would protect them.
The baby's nourishment and ability to live were not contingent on the nature of the placenta or its position. She read in Science and Health, "Spirit duly feeds and clothes every object, as it appears in the line of spiritual creation, thus tenderly expressing the fatherhood and motherhood of God." Science and Health, p. 507. The baby's nourishment, its lifeline, could not be cut off or displaced. Blood and oxygen had absolutely nothing to do with the existence of a spiritual idea of God. God's love was flowing to the baby uninterruptedly and with power.
After she had prayed this way, her doctor asked for another sonogram. The new report was completely normal. In due time she delivered a healthy little girl, without difficulty.
The dictionary meaning of the word conception includes "image; idea; thought; perception."
Man is the creation of God; he is conceived by God. God, divine Mind, conceives man as an idea, embodying all the Godlike qualities of vitality, intelligence, joy and so on. God's ideas are not conceived today or yesterday or nine months ago. They have existed eternally as part of His perfect, spiritual creation. When a baby is born, it would appear that we are seeing a frail human infant. But when we use spiritual sense, the sense that is aware of the presence of something that is pure and holy, we see God's offspring as the expression of Life, as the manifestation of intelligence, of Love, of innocence. This idea has its origin in God; it does not start from an egg. It therefore does not have to go through any physical or material development or evolution.
God has formed His ideas spiritually in His own image, as the first chapter of the Bible tells us. God's children cannot have congenital defects, because they are not the product of two bloodlines that may be carrying defective genes. God is one, Father-Mother, not separate father and separate mother.
When Christ Jesus saw a man who was blind from birth, his disciples wanted to know if it was a punishment for some sin committed by the man or his parents. Jesus rejected that theory completely. He immediately healed the man and restored his sight.See John 9:1-7. Jesus was always conscious of his own purely spiritual origin, of the fact that he truly was the Son of God. He knew that all men were just as surely the children of God. Purity was as much the fact of their true origin as it was of his.
God being infinite, His ideas are held within Himself. They are never outside of His all-power, can never stray from His protective care.
When there is a problem with a child at birth, parents often do wonder if it is because of some fault of theirs. So many theories abound to explain birth defects. But these all stem from the belief that man begins in an egg. Understanding the spiritual facts can prevent problems, or can help us to heal them if that is required.
Mrs. Eddy lived in America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. All through her own childhood and as a young woman, she was frequently ill. No type of medicine helped her to be strong and healthy. She had grown up in a family that read the Bible regularly. When she suffered an accident in 1866, considered by a physician to be very serious, she asked for her Bible. She was immediately healed by reading an account of one of the healings Jesus performed. She then embarked on a deep research into the Bible. She came to the conclusion that Genesis chapter 1, the first chapter of the Bible, was the true account of creation. She realized that the spiritual, real man is literally the image and likeness of God. In her book Science and Health she has written a beautiful exegesis on this chapter. She says: "There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected. These ideas range from the infinitesimal to infinity, and the highest ideas are the sons and daughters of God."Science and Health, pp. 502-503.
Isn't it wonderful to know that? It takes away the burden of all false hereditary influences. No more need we say that a child is fat or thin, of superior or inferior intelligence, because that is the way his or her parents are. Nor is a child doomed to have an illness because some predecessor suffered from it.
At the time I learned of Christian Science, I was a practicing pediatrician. I thought Western, allopathic medicine was the only way to cure illness. On the other hand, I saw so many conditions for which there was no medical help available, and I sometimes wondered how it must feel to be the parent in such cases. How would I feel if I was told my child would not live beyond a few months, or would never walk, or would grow up with brain damage and never be able to study in school?
Initially, I read Christian Science books and literature offered to me by a friend for my own interest. I did not dream, at the time, how vast is the scope of God's law of Love and its application to any situation.
This awakening came in an unexpected way. I was working in a public maternity hospital. A nursery had been set up to care for premature babies. One morning, the nurse in charge looked very glum. When I asked the reason for it, she pointed to a little infant who was three days old, and who had been born three months too early. His birth weight was about one pound twelve ounces. The nurses were doing their best, but everyone thought he would not survive. As I looked at the wee little one, my first thought was of human pity: "Poor baby, they are all waiting for you to die." Immediately after that, without conscious effort on my part, I silently declared, "That is not true; you represent eternal Life and have the strength of the Almighty behind you." Instinctively, with absolute conviction, I knew this was the truth. Although nothing had changed physically, I was quite confident that he would do well. And he did. He remained there till he was feeding comfortably. The only treatment he received was tender, loving nursing care.
We followed his progress till he was one year old. His growth and development were perfectly normal, both mentally and physically. The basis for that healing thought was the spiritual sense of children given in Science and Health: "The spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love." Ibid., p. 582.
Somebody might say this child's healing would have happened anyway. It was just a coincidence, perhaps! There was much more to this experience, however, as there is to every Christian Science healing. Something about God had needed to be learned. What I was seeing with human eyes, and judging with the human mind, was not the reality of things as God has made them to be. Right there, the permanence of divine Life and the strength of divine Spirit were quietly being expressed, as they have been through eternity.
Many similar experiences occurred during the rest of my career in the medical field. On many occasions I was faced with dire situations. All the medical help available had been given, and yet the child was going downhill. It seemed so wrong, so unjust! Something in me rebelled. Then I'd ask myself, What is truly going on right here? As I looked away from the human picture of a small, frail, physical infant to see the child of God--strong and whole, already perfect--the infant would recover. I was learning to acknowledge God's very tangible presence and goodness and was seeing the effect of such spiritualized thought. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that God is the only healer, and I made the decision to stop the medical practice altogether.
Jesus healed consistently. To him nothing was incurable, because he knew that to God all things are possible. He accepted the scientific fact that God is always present, maintaining all His children in their perfect state. Can we prove this consistently? Yes, we can, because it is true and because this fact is law. Mrs. Eddy discovered this truth as she studied the Bible. Many of her healings were instantaneous. One such healing was of a child with ankylosed joints. The bones in his knee joint seemed to have solidified. The medical verdict was that he would never be able to walk again. After Mrs. Eddy prayed for him, however, he could run and play with other children. See Irving C. Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1973)" pp. 55-56.
Medical theory is the product of human thought. All its reasoning is from effect to cause. The illness is accepted as real, and then a possible cause is presumed to have resulted in that effect. This presumption is then accepted as law. Because sickness is accepted as real, a great deal of fear ensues. But when you look away from the physical body and reason that perfect God could produce only perfect effect, you feel His presence and power. The certain effect is healing.
These facts, understood, helped a young woman who was herself at the time a practicing pediatrician. She was curious to find out why I had left the medical profession for something called Christian Science. She had never heard of it before. She asked many questions and was glad to accept some copies of the Christian Science Sentinel. She read them and telephoned sometimes to ask questions about Christian Science. A year or so later, her son, not quite five years old at the time, fell ill. For some days he was feverish, rejected food, and presented signs that made her very fearful. From the physical evidence she made a mental diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis. During her student days, she had seen several children suffering from this disease. They either did not survive or, if they did, had severe mental and physical disabilities. The laboratory test that would have confirmed or ruled out the diagnosis is a painful one, and not free from risk, so she did not want to subject her son to it.
At this time of extreme fear, she telephoned, asking for help through prayer. She was assured that God was the real Father and Mother of the child. He was completely safe in his Father-Mother's care. There is no destructive force in all of God's kingdom, and that is where the child existed. God is Love. She, as a human mother, would do all she could to keep her son well. How much more does God express His love, His infinite, powerful love for all His offspring! They are governed by spiritual laws that do not recognize disease.
While talking to me, she did not mention the name of the disease, but from her description, the cause of the fear was obvious. During the conversation, theories regarding infection, susceptibility to bacterial invasion, and the inevitable downward trend of the disease were denied as not being part of divine order. Consciousness is governed by Mind; it is holy, not something in a brain. Therefore, it cannot be lost or dimmed, but must always be clear and alert. Activity is an expression of Life, buoyant, vital, inexhaustible. It cannot be restricted by any physical law.
She drank in these truths because they promised a lifeline for the child--help that she knew she would not get from medicines. She turned to God with all her heart, without reservation, trusting in the Almighty. The one thought she grasped firmly was that God loved the child and had never created anything to hurt him. Less than twenty-four hours later, he woke up fully, smiled his usual bright smile, and asked for something to eat. From then on, his behavior was completely normal. The mother was deeply grateful and, of course, wanted to learn how her son had been healed. She earnestly began the study of Christian Science. The boy has grown up to be a very bright teenager.
Children, viewed spiritually, are not weak or helpless. They are not at the mercy of the adults caring for them, nor at the mercy of any institutional authority. Since God is present everywhere, the only power being exerted is the power of Love, of goodness. The Bible says in Revelation, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Rev. 19:6. We have the freedom to think and act with the knowledge that there is no other power, and accept this without doubt or reservation. We can know the only power being manifest is the gentle, peaceful, totally benevolent power of God. As the offspring of Spirit, children inherit all that their Father-Mother God has, including strength, not weakness. The Bible is our authority in recognizing these truths.
Father-Mother God cannot produce something unlike Himself. His creation must be spiritual, perfect, and eternal like Himself. God being infinite, His ideas are held within Himself. They are never outside of His all-power, can never stray from His protective care. They are totally governed by His laws, which support the wholeness and intactness of individuality.
This one and only God is the Father-Mother of us all, the one supreme Parent of every single child without exception. Therefore, all are completely safe. We can turn unhesitatingly to God in caring for ourselves and our children.