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Overcoming fear of a relapse

From the May 1990 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Everyone is glad to recover from a sickness. But if fear of a relapse continues, something more needs to be healed. Behind the fear is an acceptance that, something bad having happened once, the same condition could possibly recur and be as bad, worse, or even fatal. Not only do such thoughts create much anxiety; they may impel us to curtail activities we would otherwise like to carry out. Through the study of the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy we can gain freedom from the fear of a relapse by enlarging our spiritual understanding of God's power to heal permanently.

The Gospel of Mark tells about a father's concern for his son who suffered from epileptic seizures.See Mark 9:14-29. Each day must have brought new and frightful challenges. When the disciples failed to heal his son, the father implored Christ Jesus for help, saying, "If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us." For at that very moment his son was having another seizure.

The father had witnessed so many similar attacks. Perhaps his use of the word if indicated a fear that his son's case was hopeless. Jesus replied, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

Recognizing his own doubt, the father must have awakened to his need for greater faith. With tears he said, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Whereupon Jesus commanded the disease to depart from the boy and barred its return (or a relapse) with these words: "Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him." The child was completely cured.

When the disciples asked Jesus why they had been unable to heal the boy, he said, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." One way to think of "prayer and fasting" is as the clarification of spiritual reality in one's thought (prayer) and the giving up of false, matter-based beliefs (fasting). This is very relevant to our overcoming the fear of a relapse. Starting with what God is, we can understand better what each of us is as His unchanging, inseparable image and likeness. The Scriptures show us that God, good, is All and the creator of all. His eternal perfection excludes from existence anything unlike His ever-present harmony and supremacy. As His spiritual reflection, we can only know and be what God knows and maintains. Disease could never be a possibility in the divine presence. Health is divine wholeness, which can never turn into sickness.

The conviction of the allness, goodness,
unchangeableness, and omnipotence of God—
of the perfection of His creation and the
consequent nothingness of evil—is the basis
of Christian Science healing.

As we learn that disease is unreal because it has no divine Principle to support its existence, we glimpse why we can be healed permanently. This is "fasting"—the extermination in our thinking of material beliefs that disease has existence, power, and reality. The falsehood of disease is discerned by understanding the truth concerning it—namely, its nothingness in the presence of God's allness. The results of this understanding are the falling away of restrictive beliefs of disease. This appears as an improved bodily condition, but its basis is a fuller appearing of what already is—the harmony, health, perfection, and immortality of God and His creation.

A logical question at this point is, "How do we prove this?" One way to begin is to practice what might be called "scientific forgetting." When we think about what's called "the past," we make it part of the present moment because it occupies our present thought; therefore we can always correct how we think about a previous situation. Instead of rehearsing a prior trouble, we can be alert to reverse it with spiritual facts about the situation. This means discarding thoughts about how painful something was, how bad it looked, or what our own or others' opinions are about it. It also means not giving an "anniversary" to a difficulty by reviewing the when, where, why, and how it happened! To do any of these things is to make an unhappy past part of the present and give it reality in our thought. We can't apprehend the unreality of something while maintaining its validity as an actual occurrence.

We need to expunge whatever is harmful in the past by understanding, through Christianly scientific reasoning, that past sorrows can never be valid. Why? Because our identity, as God's image and likeness, is always expressing His goodness. It always has been and it always will be. Knowing this, we can "reverse" a time-rooted trouble and replace it in our consciousness with eternal facts of God and man. The conviction of the allness, goodness, unchangeableness, and omnipotence of God—of the perfection of His creation and the consequent nothingness of evil—is the basis of Christian Science healing.

Perceiving the perfect harmony of God's infinite creation, we can start to prove why relapses are without spiritual foundation and do not need to occur. Because there is no legitimate cause of an ailment, there can be no repeated effects of such an ailment. "All real being represents God, and is in Him," Mrs. Eddy explains. "In this Science of being, man can no more relapse or collapse from perfection, than his divine Principle, or Father, can fall out of Himself into something below infinitude." Later she adds, "Man's individual being must reflect the supreme individual Being, to be His image and likeness; and this individuality never originated in molecule, corpuscle, materiality, or mortality. God holds man in the eternal bonds of Science,—in the immutable harmony of divine law."No and Yes, p. 26.

A Christian Scientist found herself suffering from the effects of what appeared to be a heart attack. Besides concern about her weakened condition, she was afraid that there would be a relapse and that it would be fatal. She called a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful help in turning her thoughts away from her fears and physical condition to a more spiritual viewpoint of her true, Godlike being.

Each day the woman gained a better understanding of why she, and everyone, is always secure in God's presence and why perfection can't be lost or lost sight of. Two references were especially helpful. In the Bible: "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."Ps. 27:14. And in Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy: "Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew. You will never fear again except to offend God, and you will never believe that heart or any portion of the body can destroy you."Science and Health, p. 425.

She realized she needed to acknowledge only God's presence and power, to learn more about her spiritual nature through in-depth study and prayer, and to have her actions more God-centered and God-directed. She became physically stronger every day. The mental rehearsal of the heart attack and the fear of a relapse vanished as she placed herself in the care of God, divine Love. Within two weeks she was hiking in deep snow in the mountains. She was completely and permanently healed.

We can overcome the fear of a relapse by maintaining a conscious, constant perception of spiritual creation. As we humbly pray and listen, God will show us how.

More in this issue / May 1990


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