A millstone or a milestone,
Which shall it be?
Shall I hang it heavy around my neck
And drag it along with me,
Or stand it up by the roadside
To mark one more victory?
Peter J. Henniker–Heaton
Christian Science Sentinel
January 29, 1966
Our lives often seem filled with trials of one kind or another, and with each trial we must choose. Are we going to let some painful evidence convince us that evil is a real power that has invaded our lives, wreaking destruction and discord? Will we allow it to become a millstone pulling us down, as we drown in self-pity and fear? Or are we going to trust implicitly that “the substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 516)?
If we refuse to accept the false testimony presented by a trial and choose instead to “cling steadfastly” to the facts of Science (see Science and Health, p. 495), a glorious blessing awaits. And we come to see the experience as a milestone marking one more victory over the evidence of the suffering senses.
After 28 years, I was told by my husband that he wanted out of our marriage. This was a tremendous shock to me. Wanting desperately to save the marriage and keep our family intact—determined that divine Love would be the victor—I prayed persistently, with the prayerful support of a Christian Science practitioner. I had heard and read many testimonies about relationships saved through the practice of Christian Science, yet my prayerful work appeared to be of no avail, and I could not seem to stop the headlong slide toward divorce.
I asked myself a simple question: “Is this experience a ‘stone’ or is it ‘bread’ ”?
Trying to get a grip on the situation, I went to my Bible. I remember the exact place where it opened, to the words of Jesus: “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? … If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9, 11).
So I asked myself a simple question: “Is this experience a ‘stone’ or is it ‘bread’”? I realized that for years as a Christian Science practitioner, I’d acknowledged that God is All-in-all, and that God is good—therefore, that “all” is good. So did I think that God would now give me a stone? Could I doubt Mind’s intelligence, intention, and power to make this good known in a tangible way?
And then, an even more humbling question came: “Can you believe—more than believe—can you know—that right here and now, in this very place where you are, that this could be the very good which you have prayed for and acknowledged all along?”
I came to understand what divine Mind was revealing to me.
I began to see that I could let this trial defeat me, or, like the great characters of Christian history, I could face it with all the obedience, strength, ingenuity, joy, and productivity given by God when He gave each one of us dominion over all the things that the human mind claims are necessary for happiness.
In other words, I came to understand what divine Mind was revealing to me. Far greater good than I could ever have imagined. And from that time since have come forth uncountable blessings, in the form of abiding love and companionship.
As I look back I realize that I could have so easily hung that experience around my neck, but instead I was led to entrust the outcome of events to divine Love. Through the grace of God and obedience to the absolute law of continuous good, that painful trial so many years ago was transformed into a milestone of spiritual progress, and its accompanying, sure rewards.
Judith Campbell is a Christian Science practitioner in Georgetown, Maine.