The following interview describes the healing of a man involved in a serious accident at work. Three weeks after the accident, a newspaper article about his survival and recovery included his explanation: "I attribute it to God's help."
Here,and his wife, who are Christian Scientists, tell of that healing, which took place five years ago when they were living in California.
We spoke with the Emersons by telephone, and it's clear from their comments how immediate and practical "God's help" became to them in a time of great need.
The reason we're calling is that you had an experience several years ago that we wanted to talk about, and I wonder if you could just start by telling us about the day of this experience?
Brian: All right. On a summer day about five years ago I went to work. I was sent out on a job—construction and landscaping.
I was a supervisor, and that day I was supervising twenty men and also using a large farm-type tractor. The tractor was about ten feet long. The rear tires were about six and a half feet tall.
At one point I was working in front of a rear tire, and the tractor jerked forward. My feet were wedged under that tire.
I tried to get away, but I couldn't get my feet out. As it was coming up my legs, I thought, "This can't be happening. I have too much to live for." It didn't look good. I then blacked out.
The tractor rolled over my torso and the side of my face. And the next thing I remember was hearing men's voices. The twenty men I was working with were crowded around me. My mind seemed clear, and what came to me was the beginning of "the scientific statement of being" by Mrs. Eddy, found in Science and Health: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all." Science and Health, p. 468. And what it meant to me was that the spiritual is what really mattered, and I held to that. This comforted me, and I felt that these spiritual truths came to me directly from God, and that He was comforting me as "a very present help in trouble." Ps. 46:1.
Soon after that the ambulance people came. We got to the hospital, and they didn't give me any medication—they just started running tests, scans.
I continued to pray. I had them call my wife so that she could call a Christian Science practitioner, and I had the help of the practitioner and my wife praying for me.
At this point, Brian, let's hear Priscilla's perspective on the experience. Priscilla, could you tell us about your experience that day?
Priscilla: I was at work, and a co-worker received the call from the hospital and then they came and told me that my husband was in the emergency room at a trauma hospital in San Jose. A social worker at the hospital proceeded to try and tell me, in the best language that she was trained to use, to prepare me to go and basically get my husband's remains at the hospital.
So they didn't expect that he would be alive when you got there?
Priscilla: Absolutely not. She was very compassionate and was trying to be very understanding with me. But I continued to ask: "Is my husband dead or alive?" And finally she had to admit that my husband was still alive, but they did not feel that he would be when I got there. It was not even a conscious thing. It's just that when they would say that he was approaching death, or that it was inevitable, I continued to reaffirm that my husband was alive and he would continue to be so.
But this was an extreme situation. How were you able to say that? Were you just being hopeful? On what were you basing the conviction that he was going to live?
Priscilla: My lifelong experience with Christian Science.
What do you mean by that?
Priscilla: I was raised in Christian Science and have had so many healings in Christian Science—not just physical healings but proofs of God's constant care. And not just God's care in an abstract way but God's love proved in practical expressions in my daily life. I was not telling myself "Now this is the time, this is the moment in my life that I've got to be a Christian Scientist." This was the opportunity just to be it; I was just being a Christian Scientist at that point. I completely accepted that God's care for us was in complete operation at this time, and I did it emphatically. And in a certain sense, I did it in spite of myself because I was crying, I was upset. But I would not accept that he was dying, because God wasn't dying, and man is God's idea. Man is God's image and likeness. And Brian, my husband, is God's image and likeness.
I had to hold to this truth. I called a Christian Science practitioner listed in the Journal. And she immediately started to work. I called a family member, and she came, and we drove to the hospital. And from the time that the practitioner was called, Brian started to change.
They had taken a tremendous amount of X-ray and tests. At that time he had at least thirty-three broken bones.
They hadn't given him any medication; they hadn't put him in surgery. They were just trying to keep him as still as possible. Because his head and feet were swollen and his chest was so flattened, they really just felt that at this point it was better to leave him still until they knew what they should do.
Knowing the condition that Brian was in, you must have had considerable strength.
Priscilla: You know, I can honestly say I don't think it was myself.
What do you mean?
Priscilla: His appearance was very bad; he did not look at all like he normally does. To be able to be with him at that time—I don't think it was an ability that was humanly within me. I think it was everything that I've been given by God.
I had a locket on that day with a picture of my husband in it. I had never worn it before, but I happened to have worn it that day. There were times in the hospital room that I physically felt repelled by his appearance. I would just walk out of the room, and I'd open up that locket and see his smiling face and know that all the joy and all the love that my husband has could not be taken away, because these were God-given gifts. That was his inheritance. And when I was calm and clear and very aware that God was in complete control I would go back into the room, but not before.
You mentioned a practitioner was praying for him.
Priscilla: Yes. When I was with Brian and could hear what the doctors were talking about, what they were afraid of, I would go immediately to the phone and call her. Not in hysteria, and not in fear, but simply to relay to her what they were afraid of. I would mention these things to the Christian Science practitioner, and she came back every time with what the spiritual significance was of the body, these individual parts. Let's say, where the doctors spoke of the break in his foot, we talked about the fact that the foot really represented the ability to stand for Truth, and to stand firmly. And we knew that this is a God-given right, that this is his heritage as a child of God, and his birthright. And we talked just like that with everything they talked about. We knew that my husband is a child of God, that nothing could change that.
And almost immediately his physical appearance began to change for the better.
The nurses spoke of internal injuries that were correcting themselves (substantiated by multiple X-rays), but one change, in particular, I could see for myself. Part of the right side of his face had been sheared off. When I first saw it, you could see the bone. And the second time I saw him in the emergency room, I asked them if they had done some surgery on his face. And they said, "No, we haven't touched it." And I said, "Well, isn't this a lot better than before?" And the nurse looked at it, and she said, "Yes, it is," but she couldn't explain it. It had already started to heal very quickly. Within three days he had brand new pink skin—he never had one stitch on his face and it never scarred.
At one point there was a nurse who was reading his chart and looking at his body, and reading his chart, and going out of the room and coming back in and looking at him, and reading his chart. She called me outside and said, "Will you tell me what's going on here? His chart does not explain to me how his body is transforming before our very eyes." She asked, "Do you know what's going on?"
And I said, "Yes, I do." I just explained to her, "We're Christian Scientists." And I said, "We've called a Christian Science practitioner, who is praying for my husband. And not just in a kind of careless or carefree way, but very specifically knowing that he is the child of God, that God created him, and that nothing could change what God has created. All the power there is belongs to God. And that power is good." And I proceeded to explain to her some of the spiritual ideas that we were thinking about. She became peaceful.
Prayer was transforming the human picture that looked as if death was imminent and that there were all those broken bones and cuts and bruises. All of the abnormal bodily functions that they saw within the first day had been completely rectified, and they charted that his bodily functions were normal.
They'd take him back into X-ray and come back absolutely amazed that these bones had set on their own. The doctors became very open to us about encouraging us to continue to do whatever it was that we were doing.
Brian left the hospital, walking, in sixteen days. And Brian was back to work in six months, doing a job that required a lot of climbing and lifting and heavy labor.
Brian, you just seemed to have an unfailing trust in God.
Brian: True. I felt that the doctors had more fear about my injuries than I did. Being raised in Christian Science, I knew from past healings that it was worth trusting God. And, my wife was a tremendous support for me. Gently, but firmly, reminding me to keep my thought on what God knows of me, not to dwell on the physical picture no matter how colorful or dramatic it appeared. Kind of like a TV show. Only I had to turn it off and turn to God.
What did the doctors and the nurses say when you left the hospital?
Brian: One doctor said, "You're going to get a bill, but I didn't do one thing"
The doctors were supportive. They actually said, "We know you're praying; keep it up," to my wife and to me. And then when I got home, it was front-page news in our town.
Was there any apprehension about going back to work?
Brian: No, I was eager to get back to work, and to do everything that I was asked to do. It was a time of great joy and gratitude for me, my family, and my church family.
For you, what was the biggest lesson that you feel you've learned from this experience?
Brian: The biggest lesson I've learned is to trust in God and to know that God is ever present. And to really listen to that still small voice. Every time I was given a spiritual idea or uplifting thought, it met my physical need. We continue to be grateful for the greatness and goodness of God and for daily proofs of His care.
One quote from Science and Health sums up the experience better than I ever could: "It is the spiritualization of thought and Christianization of daily life, in contrast with the results of the ghastly farce of material existence; it is chastity and purity, in contrast with the downward tendencies and earthward gravitation of sensualism and impurity, which really attest the divine origin and operation of Christian Science." Science and Health, p. 272.
To me, this testimony is a triumph of demonstrable Christian Science.
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