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Cervical cancer diagnosis reversed

From the October 2013 issue of The Christian Science Journal

The Christ is a timeless healing presence, which is available to everyone in every place and time. It comes to us in our time of need, casting out sin and disease. Mary Baker Eddy explains it in this way: “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness. The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual,—yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332).

Over the years since I began studying Christian Science, I’ve found that healing comes when I feel the presence of the Christ, receive its guiding message, and yield to it. As it says in one of my favorite hymns, “The Christ is here … Unloosing bonds of all captivity” (Rosa M. Turner, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 202).

The clearest example of feeling this Christ presence in my life occurred years ago when I was five months pregnant with my third child. I’d been studying Christian Science for a few years and had experienced many physical healings, which were wonderful demonstrations of God’s love for me. Each healing, like a spiritual building block, strengthened my “tower” of spiritual understanding. I drew upon this strength when medical tests showed that I had moderately advanced cervical cancer.

During my pregnancy, I was under the care of a freestanding birth center (meaning it was not part of a hospital). My midwife was busy with another patient that day, so I found out the diagnosis from a midwife whom I didn’t know very well. She was on the verge of tears when she gave me the news, and I felt compassion toward her. 

I realized that the word cancer is like a modern-day idol, which incites deep and fearful reverence. Immediately, I knew that this diagnosis couldn’t be true because I had learned in Christian Science that “all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all” (Science and Health, p. 468). Therefore, a diagnosis would have to be true about God in order to make it true about me—His manifestation. I knew that God is Spirit and could never be sick or cause sickness. With these truths firm in my thinking, I was confident that I would be healed through Christian Science treatment.

I told the midwife that everything would be OK. On my way out, I talked with my regular midwife. She knew I was a Christian Scientist and had been very respectful of my religion. I told her I was going to pray about the situation. She explained that while she thought that was great, I also needed to see a medical specialist who treats cervical cancer. I agreed to let her make this appointment at the specialist’s earliest availability—two months later.

I went out to my car feeling a little shocked, but calm. I reached out to God, asked Him to show me what to do, and prayed, “How am I going to witness Your allness in this situation, so that it blesses me and blesses others?” 

As I drove home, I remembered a testimony a woman had given at a Wednesday evening meeting at my local Christian Science church. Through Christian Science, she had been healed of cervical cancer when she was pregnant. Remembering this testimony was a wonderful, reassuring angel message to me that no “Goliath” was too big to defeat.

When I got home, I called the Christian Science practitioner who had been praying with me throughout the pregnancy, and she agreed to pray with me about this condition. From the start, my goal was not to apply Christian Science treatment to fix a physical problem, but rather to understand more fully that I am spiritual; that “matter is mortal error” and “Spirit [God] is the real and eternal” (Science and Health, p. 468). 

In those two months, I filled about 20 pages of my journal with all the things I was learning about myself as a child of God. When I was fearful, I would quiet my thought and feel a calm presence guiding my prayers. To me this clearly represented Christ Jesus’ promise: “I will not leave you comfortless” (John 14:18). Each day, I talked with the Christian Science practitioner. I’m so grateful for the love and patience she showed me. 

I tried to fill my every waking moment with true and loving thoughts that I gleaned through reading and studying the Bible, and Science and Health and other writings by Mary Baker Eddy. I also listened to audio cassettes of Christian Science hymns whenever I was in the car.

This citation was hugely significant to my prayers: “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought” (Science and Health, p. 495).

Two words from this passage stood out to me—“illusion” and “steadfastly.” One dictionary defines illusion as “an erroneous perception of reality; an erroneous concept or belief.” For me the erroneous perception was that I could be afflicted by cancer. I had to stand steadfastly in knowing the truth—that there is nothing else besides God, Spirit, and His idea, man. I knew God made me in His likeness, and that there was no truth or reality to the erroneous belief in cancer.

One defining moment in my prayers occurred in a very ordinary place. As I walked through the grocery store one evening, I mentally gave thanks to God for His love and for all I’d been learning in the past few weeks about His always-constant care for me.

Suddenly, I saw with an overwhelming sense of awe that God’s love is not just for me, but that His care applies to everyone. I stopped right where I was, looked at all the people around me, and could truly recognize each person as spiritual and not material at all. It was an incredible moment. I began to understand more clearly that I was made free from the bonds of matter and fear.

Right then, all fear about cancer left me. But what about those who were still afraid for my health and the health of my baby? I contacted the birth center and asked to take another test like the first one, but my request was denied. They were sure the test was accurate, and because they were providing midwifery services and not cancer treatment, they asked me to go ahead with my appointment with the specialist. 

I knew the midwives wanted me to have the best care they thought possible and I wanted to support their loving intentions, so I kept the appointment. I knew God was loving and guiding each of us, and I trusted that the outcome would bless everyone involved.

The day came for my appointment with the specialist. He conducted all the necessary tests and gave me a thorough examination. He said he was not impressed by anything he saw and found no signs of cancer. The Christian Science practitioner I’d been working with rejoiced with me when I told her this news. She said, and I wrote her exact words down in my journal, “In this time and forever more, nothing separates God from man. There is never a shadow on God’s idea.”

Two months later, I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy son. The delivery was so harmonious and peaceful that my midwife said it was the most “graceful” birth she’d ever attended. When I went to see the midwife for a required six-week, postpartum checkup, the test and physical exam again concluded that there was no cancer present. As I left the midwife’s office for the final time, my midwife said in parting, “Take care of yourself,” but then quickly added that she knew I was already being taken care of. I had to smile, knowing that she, too, had witnessed God’s guiding presence.

In the intervening years, I have come to understand more deeply the significance of what the practitioner said about God and man. As Mrs. Eddy explains, “… like a ray of light which comes from the sun, man, the outcome of God, reflects God” (Science and Health, p. 250). There can be no shadow on God, because He is All. And since we shine directly from our source, God, there is no way the shadow of disease can be on God’s ray, man.

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