“Hello. Mrs. Holland? This is John, John Adams. I’m fine. I just thought I’d be in touch. Yes, there’s a lot of good going on in my life. The family? Oh, they’re all fine. Thank you for asking. Well, I just thought I’d say hello. OK then. Goodbye.” Click.
Five minutes later:
“Hello. Mrs. Holland? This is John again. Mrs. Holland, my world is falling apart. I could really use some help! Would you pray for me?”
Mrs. Holland was my Christian Science Primary class teacher, and though it was many years ago, I still remember that call. I didn’t always find it easy to call my teacher for help. Yet I can’t even begin to tell you how important she was in my and my family’s life.
There are times in our lives when we need the encouragement, support, and comfort of another. But we may hesitate to reach out for help for any number of reasons. It might be the fear of humiliation, or, worse still, of being rejected, criticized, or seen in a poor light. Or perhaps there’s an expense involved in getting the help we need and our financial resources appear limited.
In my case, because of the high expectation and standard of behavior that go along with being a Christian Scientist, I had a very hard time admitting to someone I held in such high esteem, and who held me in high esteem, that I had fallen short and needed help.
But because of the severity of my circumstances, I swallowed my pride, put at risk another person’s opinion of me, and was obedient to the demand to be truthful and to seek comfort and healing through the God-inspired prayers and counsel of my dear teacher. Mary Baker Eddy advised in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “If students do not readily heal themselves, they should early call an experienced Christian Scientist to aid them. If they are unwilling to do this for themselves, they need only to know that error cannot produce this unnatural reluctance” (p. 420).
I can still hear Mrs. Holland’s words as she answered my second call. “What is it, John?” It was as though she expected the call.
There was so much wisdom, caring concern, deep, deep compassion in her tone that I would fall at the feet of her Christly thought. She always understood. She always cared. She always comforted me. She always brought me back to my heavenly Father.
Always, after we’d ended our conversation, my heart was renewed with hope, my faith was strengthened with the conviction of God’s love, and I felt His healing power that enveloped me and mine. So, often, after one or two conversations, I was healed.
It made no difference whether it was a physical problem or pain, a legal or financial concern, a relationship issue, or a moral misstep, her response was always filled with calm assurance that God was right there, seeing my perfection, my purity, my potential, my purpose.
In many instances of healing, I needed to set aside my own pea brain ego and humble myself in reaching out for help.
There are times in our lives when we need the encouragement, support, and comfort of another.
Jesus left us with a very poignant parable in the book of Luke, offering an example of how an inflated sense of self can interfere with our drawing closer to God—in fully seeking and sensing God’s love and tender care. He speaks of two men from different social strata entering the same temple to pray and converse with God.
The first man, a Pharisee, a member of the most influential Jewish sect of the time (which considered itself best able to interpret God’s laws), prayed from the standpoint of self-justification, promoting himself above those of “lesser” character and belittling the man praying some distance from him, who was a publican. But the publican, a tax collector and a “crook,” according to various Bible interpretations, prayed with his head bowed. Stricken by his behavior, he humbly sought God’s mercy (see Luke 18:9–14).
After relating the parable, Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (verse 14).
It’s a hard lesson to learn, that we enter the kingdom of heaven on bended knees. Regardless of personal admiration and worldly accomplishment, we ultimately arrive at the understanding that humility is the highest earthly position one can gain. Because it is only then that one can begin to set aside mortal man, however successful or influential, for the real upright man made in the image of God, Spirit.
Mrs. Eddy clearly understood the virtue of humility. She referred to it as “the genius of Christian Science” and stated: “One can never go up, until one has gone down in his own esteem. Humility is lens and prism to the understanding of Mind-healing; it must be had to understand our textbook; it is indispensable to personal growth, and points out the chart of its divine Principle and rule of practice” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 356).
So, whether one is listening to arguments of an inflated sense of pride or a deflated sense of unworthiness, we can trust and commit to the understanding that God is leading us to the right individual, circumstance, or answer.
It is never too late to seek healing from God through Christianly scientific prayer. Sometimes this is best achieved through the patient’s own prayerful effort. But when a troubling physical condition or discordant situation doesn’t yield quickly through one’s own prayers, it may be time to call another who has had proven success in healing. God may be providing the invitation. In healing the sick and sinning, Jesus never gave up, even when faced with the history of a chronic condition. He had unlimited courage and trust in God’s infinite law of good.
The Bible tells us of an individual in a weakened state from a physical condition he had been dealing with for 38 years. Jesus paid no attention to the case history but simply asked the man, “Wilt thou be made whole?” The man never did say yes, but continued to voice his own concerns about his problem. Jesus simply responded with the directive, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” (see John 5:1–9). The man did.
As devoted students of Jesus’ teachings, none of us should ever see ourselves as being beyond God’s help. Whether there have been several healers on a case at different times over the years, or there’s a calcified resistance to an inclination to reach out for help, ultimately, God’s infinite presence must be, will be, realized, and God’s healing touch felt.
Keeping in mind that as God’s forever likeness, the manifestation of divine Mind, we were spiritual and eternal before we were humanly represented, we can trust that through our practice of Christian Science, this will again become more and more apparent, bringing with it regeneration and healing. God gives us the staying power to outlast and overbear the material evidence that would define us as less than spiritual and perfect.
Jesus’ motive for healing was not financial, nor was it to seek popular approval. It was the perfect way to prove that God, infinite good, is present here and now. Christian Science practitioners and teachers are first and foremost Christians. Daily, they are called on to demonstrate this spiritual fact through selfless acts of kindness, and they love doing so. It is one of their ways of glorifying God and blessing humanity. There may be a Christian Science practitioner or teacher near you.For the Directory of Christian Science practitioners and teachers, please go tohttp://journal.christianscience.com/directory. Never hesitate to reach out to one of these healers. Like Mrs. Holland, they are waiting and ready for your call.
John Quincy Adams is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in New York City. He’s also a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship.