“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).
Several years ago, I found myself stating and restating those words first thing in the morning and several times during the day while praying about an abnormal physical condition.
As a student of Christian Science, I had always found healing, peace, and protection when turning to God, and it was natural for me to turn to Him for healing in this instance, also.
I had awakened from an afternoon nap disoriented. My cognitive abilities weren’t normal and reasoning was difficult, but I could remember and hold to many Bible verses and to words of healing from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy.
Some family members were visiting, and for the next week they tenderly cared for me until mental normalcy returned. But soon after they left, I began to experience a pain in my head and a gradual decrease in my hearing until I was completely deaf. I called a Christian Science practitioner for treatment, and he prayerfully worked for me daily until the healing was complete.
One of the issues that needed to be addressed while we were praying during this experience was fear. Although I hadn’t thought I was fearful, I realized that fear comes in different guises, such as disbelief, impatience, disappointment, avoidance, ignorance, or a stagnant faith.
These thoughts had to be replaced with conviction of Christ’s healing power. Mary Baker Eddy tells us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Christian scientific practice begins with Christ’s keynote of harmony, ‘Be not afraid!’ ” (p. 410). So, I began every day and every prayer by affirming that I could not and would not be afraid because the Bible assures us that God, good, is the only real power in our lives. The Second Timothy verse at the beginning of this testimony was a constant comfort!
There was no one key point that brought healing, but I felt a day-by-day requirement to gain a deeper understanding of God, to be willing to leave all for Christ, to let go of whatever seemed to link me to mortality, and to be a humble learner. I knew I had to demonstrate a degree of the power, the love, and the soundness of mind that Christ Jesus illustrated, and also the dominion that was bestowed on man by our Father-Mother God. I knew that Christian Science heals, and I knew that it would heal me again as it had so many times before. I trusted with constancy and faith in Christ Jesus’ words and works. Jesus would not have told us to be perfect as our Father which is in heaven is perfect if it were not possible and the natural state of our being.
So, I sat on my couch from early morning until late evening, listening for God’s inevitable messages moving thought to Him, and studying the Bible, especially the healings Jesus performed. And, I also studied the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, until my thought turned radically to Spirit, God—to the truths that I knew would lead to my God-given freedom and health.
The Christian Science practitioner reiterated a statement that Mrs. Eddy makes with complete assurance in Science and Health: “A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive” (p. 463). Because man is God’s spiritual idea, he cannot incorporate error or be moved from his God-determined state of reflecting Spirit.
These comforting words assured me that God’s omnipresence precluded the possibility of a place where God isn’t and so permitted no place for error to reside. Jesus’ ministry proved that there is no time or space, no cause or effect, where error, sin, sickness, can actually find a home—not in consciousness, not in body, not on earth. In Psalm 100 we read, “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (verse 3). These words grew in my thought and were powerful promises to me to acknowledge with love, trust, and gratitude.
The practitioner also asked me to make a comprehensive gratitude list. I have made many of these lists over the years, but this one became different.
I thought back as far as I could remember for things to be grateful for, but as I did, some instances of bad things came to my thought. This wasn’t a path I wanted to go down.
So, I turned to Prose Works, which contains more of Mrs. Eddy’s published writings, for some direction, and interestingly, the book fell open to Retrospection and Introspection, page 21. Here she tells us, “It is well to know, dear reader, that our material, mortal history is but the record of dreams, not of man’s real existence, and the dream has no place in the Science of being.… The heavenly intent of earth’s shadows is to chasten the affections, to rebuke human consciousness and turn it gladly from a material, false sense of life and happiness, to spiritual joy and true estimate of being.”
I realized that my previous lists had been mostly an accounting of good things, people, and/or experiences, but that they were not fully elevated to the level of my real existence, to the spiritual actuality of my life.
So, I made a new list! This one was an accounting of the spiritual premise of everything I could remember. Changing the basis from matter to Spirit, I found healing and harmony in things I had put on the shelf never to be thought of again! Lurking and hidden errors were uncovered and healed. Negative personality traits were removed, and a lovely sense of my heavenly inheritance lifted any feeling of a burdened past. God’s eternal salvation for me became more apparent.
Everything good was now seen from a higher view, the correct view—I was seeing the spiritual substance, and realizing God’s infinite omnipresence and power. The spiritual lessons learned were all that was true from what had seemed to be bad experiences. I knew regeneration was taking place. Mrs. Eddy also tells us, “The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 22). This is what constitutes a true gratitude list!
During this experience I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday as usual, even though I couldn’t hear a thing. Mary Baker Eddy defines Church in Science and Health, in part, as “that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick” (p. 583).
And this is exactly what Church did for me.
One Sunday a couple of months into this time, while sitting in church, I became aware of the bass notes of the organ. Gradually, over the next few weeks, the pain disappeared, and my hearing returned to normal.
I am so very grateful for the practitioner’s unflinching conviction of God’s Word and his willingness to impart it to me, with intelligence, tender strength, and encouragement. I am grateful, too, for God; for Christ Jesus, our Way-shower; and to Mary Baker Eddy for discovering and revealing the scientific method of Christian healing so all will continue to be comforted and blessed by it today!
Glen Arbor, Michigan, US