Often I’ve struggled when my prayer didn’t bring quick healing. Sometimes I felt frustrated and discouraged, even irritated. I didn’t doubt Christian Science, but I wanted to find spiritual solutions to my problems more definitively through Christian Science—I wanted to know how my prayers could be more effective.
A healing on my first job brought some answers. Money was tight, so when my boss promoted me and promised a raise, I was delighted! I opened each paycheck anticipating additional income, but weeks passed with nothing more. My initial eagerness turned into nervous impatience and criticism—interspersed with lots of prayer.
I asked my boss’s assistant about the delay. She answered, “He says he hasn’t had time to submit your paperwork,” and then she whispered that he’d already finalized his own promotion and salary adjustment.
As the wait grew, so did my questions. I asked myself, “What am I doing wrong?” I’d been earnestly praying, knowing, I thought, that God was governing my life rather than another person, in this case my employer. I expected these prayers to bring forth the raise. Around the same time (and independent of this issue), my wife and I decided to eventually relocate—so I’d be submitting my resignation within the year. I wondered, pessimistically, if I’d be gone before the raise occurred.
Walking outside after lunch one day, I reached out to God for answers. I still remember this thought dawning on me: “Something’s not right here! I’ve been believing that two opposite situations are both true. I’ve been praying that God is actually governing me. But I’ve also convinced myself that my boss is not honoring a commitment. Of course, both can’t be true—it’s either one or the other. Which is true? Is God governing me or is a flawed person?”
This awakening—that I’d been believing two opposite views were simultaneously true—jolted me. I was stunned that I had deceived myself all this time. I knew I had to decide, right then, what was true and what was false.
Facing this either/or choice, I reconsidered my understanding of God and Christian Science. Did I really know God was governing me? Now? Or had my prayers been just my hope for divine intervention? Within moments I felt that my spiritual identity as God’s idea, as taught in Christian Science, was the only reality. Immediately it became easier to see that the inharmonious issues regarding my work were not actually legitimate, not real, because they had nothing to do with God and what He’s created.
For the first time in months I felt peace and calm—a sense of God’s nearness and care, and confidence that nothing could disrupt this. The workplace issue, which had been all-consuming, now dropped from my thought.
This feeling of peace, and confidence in the fact that God alone is governing, remained. A week afterward, my employer increased my salary—and even added extra money to compensate for the delay.
I’ve pondered this healing ever since. There were months of what appeared to be unanswered prayer and hurt feelings, followed by a sudden spiritual awakening during a lunch break, and then healing! I knew I needed to learn some lessons. I longed to arrive at these moments of healing, of feeling and realizing spiritual truth, more quickly—and with less angst and more joy.
I saw that I always had the opportunity and the ability to grow in my realization and understanding of spiritual truth until I found healing.
New insights came years later, and as clearly as on that lunch break. I was prompted to focus on an already-familiar instruction in the chapter on Christian Science practice in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony” (p. 412).
Two words stood out to me as if circled in red ink: realize, and until. What I thought was, “Realize the truth until you’re healed.” Or until someone you’re praying for is healed.
Three things became clear to me that day—important answers to issues I’d been wrestling with for a long time.
First, and most meaningful, was the angel message that I was capable of following this instruction. It said to me, “You do include the spiritual capacity to realize, and to understand, divine Truth, which brings healing.” I knew that the truth in this context is the truth of spiritual being that each of us is made and governed by God, who is Truth. To me, the word until implied that Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, was aware that I or any reader of Science and Health might still be seeking healing. In other words, she provided this guidance while being aware that someone might not yet have experienced the “normal conditions of health and harmony.” Yet despite this, regardless of whether I or anyone might still be facing a challenge, I felt as though she was asking me, and expecting me—or any of us—to be able to realize the truth of being.
Wow! This hit me like a ton of bricks. I figured that if Mrs. Eddy was telling me or anyone to do this, she knew that we could. That was good enough for me; from reading her writings, and from previous experiences of healing, I knew enough to trust the instructions she provided.
Before this, I’d been thinking, mistakenly, that whenever I was experiencing some problem, it indicated that for some reason I innately and irreversibly lacked the necessary spiritual understanding to be healed. Now I understood this wasn’t true. Instead I saw that I always had the opportunity and the ability to grow in my realization and understanding of spiritual truth until I found healing. I breathed a sigh of relief and gave a silent shout of joy. It was an instant release from years of fear of my own unworthiness and inadequacy. An immense mental weight had been lifted.
Second, I’ve come to see that during these times when we’re diligently striving to find a healing, it’s possible to feel joyous, grateful, and expectant instead of unpleasant or on edge. One definition of realize is “to conceive vividly as real; be fully aware of.” Surely this spiritualization of thought that brings healing includes feelings like spiritual awe, inspiration, confidence, and peace.
When we’re affirming God’s love and control, opening our thought to His goodness, and rejecting the claims of material sense as false, it’s perfectly natural to feel more content and less frustrated about the problem. Realizing until means to me that we’re seeing more and more each day of the truth, the reality of what’s truly going on! Worry, doubt, anxiety, and irritation increasingly drop away from our spiritually enlightened consciousness as we keep realizing more and more that God’s goodness is the reality. We can feel an expectancy of good—and a sense of hope and trust—and as we do so we will experience complete healing. I’ve learned that the mere passage of more time, or even of suffering, doesn’t somehow make us more ready for, or deserving of, healing. God has provided all of us with health and salvation now, though we have to yield in thought to it and accept it.
And we can overcome anything that would seem to impede our progress, such as fear, wrongful behavior, or any false concepts that would tend to separate us from Spirit, God. Recognizing our native spiritual purity and holiness helps us to do this.
Third, we can rest assured that healing, whether fast or slow, is certain and inevitable. The word until indicates that fruitage always accompanies the fullness of the realization. As with most things, realizing and healing require persistence. And the more consistently persistent we are, the more we can expect to see progress.
During the employment experience mentioned earlier in this article, I mentally zigged and zagged for months, advocating in prayer for spiritual truth, only to later become frustrated and annoyed with the testimony of the material senses that appeared to contradict that truth. But when I finally, honestly asked myself, “What is really true?”—and I stuck with that truth—freedom came quickly.
Healing is inevitable because divine Truth is true; Truth always defeats a lie. As we learn to be more consistent, as well as joyously persistent, in our realizing of spiritual truths, our confidence in Truth’s healing power, as well as our ability to demonstrate it, grows.
Many students of Christian Science are familiar with this phrase of Scripture: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” For years I’ve considered it to be an “if/then” statement: If you can know the truth, then the truth will heal you. This often left me worrying, “But what if I can’t know the truth?”
But there’s really more to the Scripture stated above. It’s important to consider the entire instruction Christ Jesus gives: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31, 32). The “if” here is referring to whether we’ve chosen to continue in Jesus’ word. All who sincerely strive to live the teachings of the Science of Christ, and believe its teachings in their heart, have already made the decision to continue in his word. Jesus’ promise to us, then, is that we “shall” know the truth, and that it will make us free.
We’re free—all of us—to rejoice, hourly and daily and continually, in the consciousness of our spiritual identity as the loved, healthy children of God. We’re free to continue realizing God’s love for us, knowing that as we do this, we will surely experience God’s blessings.
No one is unqualified. We’re all “good enough,” and able, to turn to God and find healing.
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