I awoke one morning to great discomfort in one arm. An elbow and finger were stiff and swollen, and they were not functioning properly. That arm was of little use in getting dressed, and I could not hold a glass of water. I was aware of the pervasive belief that as the years go by we begin to deteriorate and our ability to function diminishes. But through Christian Science I’d learned that God made man in His image and likeness, wholly spiritual, expressing all the perfect, perpetual, and permanent attributes of His divine nature.
Knowing this, I refused to accept the painful condition as true, and I began my prayers by contemplating these ideas about man from page 475 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements.” I reasoned that since substance is spiritual, the body doesn’t have power to make me suffer—not the elbow, fingers, muscles, or joints. There is no suffering in God’s creation, and the so-called mortal mind can never reverse this fact. As the image and likeness of God, we can only express complete freedom and comfort, without restriction. Mortal mind’s suggestions challenge Truth, but they can never affect it. And these suggestions cannot wear down or weaken the quality of our forever purposeful, free, and immutable life as God’s reflection. Our Father-Mother God is the only source of our being.
I prayed this way for several weeks. There were times when I became so engrossed in contemplating these truths that I momentarily lost awareness of the physical challenge. When there wasn’t a change in the condition, though, fear began creeping in. But while the material senses seemed stubborn and insistent, I continued to know that mortal mind does not have the ability, right, or might to legislate my well-being. It is divine Mind’s thinking alone that governs us, providing our perpetual state of health and harmony. Our job is to continually acknowledge this truth.
I also held to this guidance in Science and Health: “We cannot deny that Life is self-sustained, and we should never deny the everlasting harmony of Soul, simply because, to the mortal senses, there is seeming discord” (p. 390). The perfection of our true identity is not dependent on time. It is already here, as recorded in First John 3:2, where it says, “Now are we the sons of God.” So I rejoiced in my wholeness regardless of what seemed to be going on. In the many healings he performed, Jesus detected the error, the mistaken belief, and then didn’t entertain it. With that in mind, I made an effort not to rehearse in thought what I didn’t want to see in my life.
One afternoon, about two months after all this started, I suddenly realized that everything with my arm was back to normal, both in activity and appearance.
I then shared this healing at a Wednesday evening testimony meeting. The next day, I awoke to find fingers on my other hand manifesting the same condition. Was I fooled this time? Not a chance! Page 442 of Science and Health says: “An improved belief cannot retrograde. When Christ changes a belief of sin or of sickness into a better belief, then belief melts into spiritual understanding, and sin, disease, and death disappear.” I knew the prayerful work had been done, and Truth conclusively proven, so there was no need to repeat the lesson learned. This time only two weeks, instead of two months, brought healing, and there has been no recurrence of this condition in the nine years since.
This healing taught me that every prayer declaring the truth of God’s omnipresence and omnipotence does have a healing effect. Each truth has all the power of God behind it, as it elevates and purifies thought and moves us forward in our spiritual understanding.
Chico, California, US