As I started to rise from a sitting position, I felt an excruciating pain in my lower back and almost collapsed on the floor. Sheer human willpower got me to the bed in my hotel room to lie down.
My Christian Science students’ association (an annual meeting for students of a teacher of Christian Science) was to begin in about an hour and I feared that I would not make it. My yearly custom was to take a shuttle from the airport to a nearby hotel and then walk to the association, which was about an hour away by foot. I was already at the hotel and needed to finish getting ready before the hour-long walk.
At first I thought I’d call a Christian Science practitioner, someone who is available to resolve issues through prayer, but I felt this time that I should handle the problem on my own. This command from the Bible came to mind: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). I knew from decades of relying on God for aid that I could trust Him to get me where I needed to go and to get me there intact. This thought of assurance from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy also comforted me: “Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself. If you sprain the muscles or wound the flesh, your remedy is at hand” (p. 385). I knew my remedy could be found in Christian Science.
As I continued to pray, I carefully finished getting ready to walk to my destination. Humanly, I didn’t see how I was going to make it on time in the state I was in. I looked at the map provided by the association’s clerk, and at my reduced speed, I was sure that I’d be late. As I continued looking at the map, however, I saw another way. This other way was shorter, but also involved traversing uneven terrain and woods. Which route should I take? I had a choice, and the best way forward wasn’t clear to me, so I asked God what to do.
The answer came as I approached the intersection where the two paths diverged. I remembered page 347 of Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, where Mrs. Eddy tells a story about “two individuals” who offer advice: “One says, Go this way; the other says, Take the opposite direction! Between the two I stand still; or, accepting the premonition of one of them, I follow his counsel, take a few steps, then halt. A true sense not unfamiliar has been awakened. I see the way now. The guardians of His presence go before me.” I felt that this was a message to me to literally take the familiar way, even though it looked as though I’d be late, and I obediently took it.
As I walked along the elevated sidewalk among the eucalyptus trees, I felt a sense of peace. That was when a car traveling on the road below stopped close to me. I wondered how the driver had seen me through the trees and above the road, but I felt such a sense of familiarity about it that I quite naturally went toward the car as if I knew the person driving it. I walked down the embankment, and when I got to the car, I saw that it was my Christian Science teacher and thought, “Well, I’m not going to be late now!” Even more wonderful was that when I grasped the handle to open the car door, all trace of the back problem vanished.
At the association meeting, though, I began to fear a return of the pain and thought I might not be able to leave my chair. I found, however, that each hymn we sang had a mention of rising or standing in it, and this strengthened me. I enjoyed a trouble-free day of inspiration, including lunch with friends, two of whom gave me a ride back to my hotel. I slept peacefully. The next day I was up early and traveled home from one side of the country to the other without incident.
The next day at work, however, the symptoms seemed to make a comeback. This time I called a practitioner, and as I hung up all pain left and the symptoms never returned. That was about 25 years ago.
I’m very grateful for Mrs. Eddy sharing Christian Science, and for her provision for Christian Science class instruction and yearly association meetings, which help keep us spiritually focused throughout the year, and for Christian Science practitioners, who are always available to help.
Wells, Maine, US
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