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Faith that leads to wholeness

From the April 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal

The Bible shows how faith brings healing. Hebrews 11:3–11 specifically refers to the faith of individuals whose experiences are told in the Old Testament. There was the story of siblings Cain and Abel, where Abel’s faith inspired him to make a “more excellent” sacrifice to God than Cain.

And Noah, obedient to God’s directives, expressed faith when building his ark despite widespread disbelief, which ultimately saved his household and much more.

Later on, Abraham, though ignorant of the destination he felt inspired by God to travel to, had faith to proceed regardless, and he and his heirs Isaac and Jacob were led to a “land of promise.”

Moses, hidden and released through the faith of his parents, and cared for and adopted through the faith of another, had great trust and conviction in God’s direction to lead an exodus from Egypt, which included not knowing how they would pass through the Red Sea. But they did, successfully.

These are just a few illustrations of faith in action from the Old Testament. There are many more throughout the Bible. In the New Testament, there are five places where Christ Jesus is recorded as saying, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” For instance, what did Jesus tell the woman healed of an issue of blood? “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34). The fact that Jesus credited deep faith as being able to restore this woman to wholeness indicates that he expected healing, and his words to her also show him anticipating that the healing would be permanent.

Faith requires us to rely on spiritual sense and to trust in what’s spiritually true of God and His creation before we see tangible evidence of it. How can we distinguish spiritual sense from the sometimes clamoring material senses? It’s often an indicator of spiritual sense when an inspired idea, one that has only good and pure motives, occupies your thought with great persistence. It may be suggesting you accomplish a task that appears to be way beyond what seems humanly possible.

You may be prompted by your heavenly Father to do something like one of these Bible characters, or it might be something much more modest. But it similarly will require faith in this same Father-Mother God if it is to be carried to completion.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, gives encouragement and specifics about faith. It says: “Every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger. The more difficult seems the material condition to be overcome by Spirit, the stronger should be our faith and the purer our love” (p. 410). Science and Health also clarifies that faith is beyond belief. It states: “Faith is higher and more spiritual than belief. It is a chrysalis state of human thought, in which spiritual evidence, contradicting the testimony of material sense, begins to appear, and Truth, the ever-present, is becoming understood.… Until belief becomes faith, and faith becomes spiritual understanding, human thought has little relation to the actual or divine” (p. 297). 

What follows is an illustration of an expanding faith.

A few years ago, our family was living in a city where we’d become comfortable. We had good friends, and we were fitting nicely into church activities and duties. Our home was in a quiet suburban area. And yet at one point this began to seem complacent to us.

Faith requires us to rely on spiritual sense and to trust in what’s spiritually true of God and His creation before we see tangible evidence of it.

My husband’s employment was an acceptable fit, but did not fully utilize talents in his specialized field. While considering next steps, we focused on praying about demonstrating a fuller expression of our God-given talents, rather than how or where that might take place.

I had a burning desire to share Christian Science more—both in supporting fellow Christian Scientists and with the public. For many years I’d been mentally chewing on this directive that Mrs. Eddy shares in her autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection: “At this period my students should locate in large cities, in order to do the greatest good to the greatest number, and therein abide” (p. 82). Mrs. Eddy was giving advice as to where Christian Science practitioners should locate their practice, and it strengthened my commitment to sharing Christian Science more widely and eventually brought inspiration to our next steps. 

My husband anticipated a short job search owing to an improving economy, so we put our home on the market, and it sold very quickly. As he continued looking for a better-suited job out of state, we moved into temporary housing. He received many phone interviews, but after a year, the move was not progressing. Of course we were diligently praying all along.

Faith or deep trust often requires courage. At one point, I got an urge to go and look at homes in two cities that we didn’t know well but felt led to consider. When contemplating whether to do this, I prayerfully revisited that original commitment to share more widely this great Science of the Christ that provides healing.

I recall thinking, “What if this fails?” And I needed to remind myself of the importance of being obedient to what felt like a prompt from God, and to follow through on it.

I gained courage and visited the first city to look at homes. On this same trip, my husband then met me in the second city. Still with no employment there, we felt led to proceed with buying a home in the second city. When he needed to, my husband would call a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful help with seeing his true employment as a child of God, always expressing Godlike qualities.

We knew there were less than a handful of companies in his industry in this second city that had positions that would be a good fit for his abilities. But I knew that if our motive was to bless others on a wider scale, we were both starting from the right premise. At this point, sharing Christian Science more broadly had taken the forefront in our thoughts over my husband securing employment first. Great faith was required.

The day we closed on our home in the new city was a Wednesday. That same day we flew back to the previous city where we lived, and as we were entering a local branch Church of Christ, Scientist, for a Wednesday testimony meeting, my husband received a call from a recruiter on the West Coast for a job in the city where we’d bought our home that day, which was a city in a state on the East Coast. My husband has now been working in that job for about three years. His motive in seeking employment throughout his career has always been to spiritually discern where he can contribute most and make the best use of his talents. This position in our new city allows him to more fully reach his potential through a more specific use of his talents and experience.

The move has felt right for us. I still remember the first Sunday church service after he was offered a job here. Listening to the organ postlude in the edifice, I’d been so moved by his gaining local employment, that there were a few tears streaming down my cheeks alongside a broad smile. And I recalled, “What cannot God do?” from Science and Health (p. 135).

And we have both been given ample opportunity to serve church more widely. I continue to be given ways to support Christian Scientists in varied capacities and enjoy sharing Christian Science with the public whenever opportunities present themselves, as many have. Loving God most and being willing to trust Him has brought a fuller expression of life in so many ways.

When our sons were young, a practitioner repeatedly shared with me this passage from Science and Health: “I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged” (pp. 226–227).

In this instance, the search was not disruptive, yet we were guided through what seemed like an extended wilderness period.

“Love never gives up” (I Corinthians 13:7, The New Living Translation).

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