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Growth Dissolved

From the July 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal

For many years, I was aware of a hard growth below the surface of the skin of my thigh. It didn’t really bother me, except that some believed it could turn into a serious problem at some point.

As the years grew on, so did the lump, and it began to change the contour of my leg. I became extremely self-conscious of it and I longed to see it healed in Christian Science, but the distractions of daily life, and the self-perceived lack of urgency, caused my prayers to be sporadic.

There came a time when I knew I needed to address this problem, one way or another. The circulation in my leg seemed to be affected, and there were other signs that were not encouraging. I knew I had a choice in how to treat this, either through material methods or through Christian Science.

Growing up in the Christian Science Sunday School, I learned that Christ Jesus was the Way-shower. I learned that all of his works were designed to teach us about spiritual Truth, and that we could follow in his path and do as he did, including healing sickness and sin. During a lifelong reliance on Christian Science I had always found it to be effective, so it felt natural to choose Christian Science treatment.

However, it had been quite some time since I had called a Christian Science practitioner, and I wasn’t sure who to call. I reached out to God for guidance. After some time, I made a choice and scheduled an office appointment, since I wanted to meet in person. I anticipated that this healing could take a while, and in-person visits appealed to me. 

We met, and the first question the practitioner asked was, “Do you believe Christian Science heals?” This took me aback because I felt it was obvious that I did since I was there, but I took a moment to ponder the question. My response was “Yes,” but I expressed my concerns about my ability to prove it in this case since the issue had persisted for so long. From there, he spoke of my divine nature and of all that I am spiritually. There wasn’t a whole lot of discussion between us, but he talked about the absolute truths of God and man and God’s universe, and how I am included in that.

As I left the appointment and was heading to my car, a wonderful sense of freedom and joy overwhelmed me. I literally did a little skip on the sidewalk and I recall saying to myself, “I actually think this healing is possible!”

Over the coming days, I was in constant touch with the practitioner over the phone. There were changes in the growth and some of the symptoms alarmed me. Each time I called, I was calmly redirected to my spiritual, natural, normal nature, which was absolutely untouched and perfect. I spent much of my time reading from various writings of Mary Baker Eddy, including Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, along with the Bible, and periodicals from The Christian Science Publishing Society.

While doing chores or other activities, I would put on my earbuds and listen to various audio selections of Christian Science healing available on my phone. One day, while outside watering some new plantings, I listened to a Christian Science lecture.

The lecturer had been challenged with a similar difficulty as I was facing, and her reference to a quote in Science and Health led me to put down the hose and look it up. On page 242 it states: “Self-love is more opaque than a solid body. In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error,—self-will, self-justification, and self-love,—which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.”

The passage uses the word adamant as a noun, which was different from the way I had always read it, as an adjective. I had been thinking of it as meaning unyielding or the insistence of error, but as a noun adamant is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “a stone (such as a diamond) formerly believed to be of impenetrable hardness” or “an unbreakable or extremely hard substance.”

This definition pointed me in a new direction, since I could relate to this idea of a hard and impenetrable stone. I had often made the analogy that the growth was like a symbolic barometer, measuring my ability to demonstrate Christian Science healing, and that my leg’s shape would be the indicator of my success. This imaginary barometer wasn’t reading favorably and I fully blamed myself and indulged in self-criticism. I believed that healing wouldn’t come until I overcame self-perceived negative characteristics. This mistaken approach to healing based on a false sense of self and personal responsibility was the “adamant of error” that needed dissolving.

It was pointed out to me that any characteristic centered on “me” is self-love, whether it is kind or not. In either case, it is the cherishing of the belief of a self apart from God. Until then, self-love was the last thing I would have thought I needed to dissolve, since I had always been very hard on myself and was quick to identify my own faults. It wasn’t the growth that needed dissolving, but rather this belief of a self apart from God.

I realized that Mrs. Eddy’s statement in Science and Health didn’t have to do with matter. Instead it was all concerned with thought, and it was thought that needed to change. At first I questioned how I would go about doing this, but the answer was right there within that quote. It was with divine Love, the universal solvent, which destroys all that is not real.

As my thought changed from a material standpoint to a spiritual one, I saw more clearly how much I had accepted this notion that I wouldn’t experience healing until I corrected negative characteristics about myself. Since I felt I had a long list of shortcomings, I wasn’t sure where to begin—and therefore how long a healing would take. I had been so focused on trying to change the material condition with my prayers and by improving my personal characteristics, that I had lost sight of the basic practice in Christian Science of identifying myself as how God sees me: loved, perfect, and complete. After all, it is only from this standpoint that we are able to successfully make corrections in our lives.

As I reflected back on those beautiful ideas the practitioner had shared on my visit that day, including the truth of my real nature as loving, obedient, confident, joyous, receptive, complete, and so on, I found myself really believing and understanding how true they all were about me. I recognized that these qualities actually constitute my current, true identity, and I saw through the mistaken approach of believing that someday, after I prayed properly, they would become true about me.

Within a few days after this shift in perspective, the growth became soft and a spot on my skin opened up and the dissolved mass was completely eliminated. Many years have passed, and this healing has been permanent. My gratitude is immense and I appreciate the new insights I gained in learning more about how Christian Science heals.

I never did return for the anticipated frequent visits to the practitioner’s office. Within two weeks of that day when I skipped along the sidewalk, I was healed. I had felt the Christlike touch assuring me that healing was possible, and that God’s truth is and always was true! I am profoundly grateful for God’s care and His presence each step of the way—and always—and for the practitioner who gently helped to support me and nudge me forward. 

Joyce G. Peterson
Midland Park, New Jersey, US

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