Testimonials From the Christian Science Sentinel:
A Personal Experience of Sharing God’s Love
Nearly 20 years ago I documented carefully the details of the following account. I knew that it was important, because this experience brought a distinct and beautiful awareness of God’s love to one man before he passed from this human plane of existence to the next. So I took the time to write down every detail I could remember about it just a couple of days after the conclusion of this series of events. I had at that time just completed my primary class instruction in Christian Science. The names and the relationships between the people involved have been excluded out of respect for confidentiality of the family. This was a powerful experience for the man who went through it, as well as for me. After this happened, I lost any fear of cancer at all. I saw first hand that we have dominion over cancer through God, and that we can and must exercise it. And that THIS is the cure for cancer so sought after, but which will never be found in a laboratory.
A relative of mine was suffering from what had been medically diagnosed as a serious case of cancer. I had never been as close to this individual as I had hoped to be, and I had up to this point in my life been cautious and somewhat afraid to offer Christian Science healing to others. But this case has become quite serious, and had become in human terms a matter of life and death. The medical diagnosis was terminal, and this caused much fear on the part of this man and his family. Over the course of many months, this man has become so physically weak that he was hospitalized when he became unable to support his own weight. I gathered up my courage. A couple of days after he had been admitted, I visited him in the hospital on a Saturday afternoon. During that visit there was no chance to be alone with him, so, in the presence of his family, I affirmed to him that God’s love was always with him. That was a start.
The following evening I returned to the hospital alone for another visit, after family members had all gone home. He was initially semi-conscious, eyes sometimes closed and sometimes open, under the influence of a narcotic pain killer. He recognized me and called me by name immediately. A bit of background information – at one point when I was only 18, he and I had had an unproductive conversation about Christian Science, and I had always felt that he probably maintained some misunderstandings about what spiritual healing really is. At this point in the visit I told him that I had learned a lot since then, and that I was sure I knew how he could improve his situation by gaining a sense of God’s love. He had never been particularly religious. I asked him of he wanted this. He could only communicate in simple phrases. He responded definitely and clearly by saying, “Yes, I want to feel God’s love”. All of the rest of the conversation had been simply “yes”, or “no” and nodding or shaking of the head. I prayed about what to do next.
Prayer told me that the best way to help this man would be to give him the opportunity to understand something of his relationship to God. I continued talking to him as if he could understand me fully, and gradually he began to respond better verbally. There was a Bible in the hospital drawer. I read to him, firmly and slowly, pausing to reflect and discuss the meaning, Psalms 23, Psalms 27, Psalms 91. Then we talked about God’s goodness and completeness, and the necessity that his true nature must be good. He said that he had been told he was born a sinner, and that he thought that God must be disappointed in him. In response to that, we talked about reflection – about how the true man, the man we really are, is the image and likeness, the reflection of God. I talked about how the trees around a lake form a reflection on the surface of a lake, and that the leaves in the reflection must blow exactly as those in the tree do. And I told him to picture himself as a similar reflection of God. He liked this and looked pleased. I felt very uplifted because this receptivity was coming from a man who had previously appeared to me to be distant and difficult to know.
I returned the following evening and again was there with him alone. I had been earnestly praying to know that receptivity could not be blocked. On the way up to his room, I met some family members coming down. One of them said to me “He was not able to recognize who some of us were, so he might not know you, but go ahead and visit him anyway”. When I entered his room, he did not look at me, but I went and stood beside him. He realized someone was standing there and he said “Hi, Stirling” He was fully conscious and aware and he spoke freely to me about his desire to build his hope. He told me that our first meeting had meant a lot to him, and that before I spoke to him about God in this new way, he had felt that nobody wanted to give him any hope. I responded that I knew they wanted to give him hope, but that they simply did not know how to encourage him because their own view of the situation was also without hope. He said that now there was definitely a twnkling of real hope in his heart. So, we went ahead and reviewed again all of the same concepts from the last visit, especially dwelling on reflection. I assured him that, knowing that God is all good and all that exists, then he must of necessity also be perfect and good. When I asked if these were new ways of looking at himself, he said “yes!” He had always had a hard time thinking of himself as good, let alone perfect. So, we talked about the difference between his true selfhood, the spiritual image of God, and the false human picture of himself. This seemed to satisfy and comfort him some.
While he was in the hospital, I returned a third time the following afternoon. We read and prayed about various things from Psalms, and then we read the account in John 9:1-7, Jesus’ healing of the man who had been born blind.
The following day, he was sent home. The medical diagnosis was that his case was terminal, and that it would be best for him to be attended by a nurse at home, as the doctors in charge of the case had concluded that further medical treatment would only make him weaker and worsen his condition. After he had settled in at home, I visited him again, two days since the previous visit. I came by his house on my lunch break from work. We dwelt a bit more on the subject of reflection and pondered some more. We went over Mrs Eddy’s answer to the question “What is man?” from the Chapter entitled Recapitulation in Science and Health. After pondering that then we again read and discussed John 9:1-7, the account of the healing of the man who has been born blind. We talked about how Jesus said “neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” He recognized how this applied to him. He had done nothing to deserve cancer. He was innocent and not worthy of suffering. So, like the innocent blind man who gained his sight, he also should regain his health and strength. This was very powerful and important to him. I could see the deep pondering in his face. When I asked him what he thought about this, he said “Those are deep thoughts. I have to think about them” Then we also read and pondered the following poems, the first about hope and trust, and the second about strength:
Trust the Eternal, when the shadows gather
When joys of daylight seem so like a dream
God, the unchanging, pities like a father;
Trust on and wait, the day star yet shall gleam
Trust the Eternal, for the clouds that vanish
No more can move the mountains from their base
Than the illusive wreaths of mist can banish
Light from His throne or loving from His face.
Trust the Eternal and repent in meekness
Of that heart’s pride which frowns and will not yield.
Then to thy child-heart shall come strength in weakness
And thine immortal life shall be revealed.
Fight the good fight with all thy might
Christ is they strength and Christ thy right
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace
Lift up thine eyes and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies
Christ is the path and Christ the prize
Faint not nor fear, His arms are near
He changeth not, and thou art near
On Him rely and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee
When I left I told him to “keep at it”, with an encouraging squeeze if the hand. It was following this meeting that the most wonderful signs began to manifest themselves. I went back to work at about 4 pm. That evening at home, I received news from another family member who had just left his house. This family member told me that the wife of the sick family member had wondered what we had talked about, and said that she had thought I had prayed with him. After I left she went in to check on him. For the previous 3 weeks, which had included his latest hospital time, he had not eaten anything at all. His feeding had all been intravenous because his digestive system had ceased to function. During that time he had not had enough strength to sit up or even to turn himself without assistance. When his wife went in to check on him, he was sitting up in bed, was fully alert, and said that he was hungry. He asked for and received, with some objections, a bowl of chicken noodle soup, some Vienna sausages, quite a number of soda crackers, and half a glass of milk. The food digested normally, causing no pain as it previously had. One of his sons came to visit him that night, and reported back to me the next day that this was the happiest he had seen his father in many months, and that he found the change in attitude to be quite unbelievable. As related to me through his daughter, he had talked about the things he and I had prayed about with his wife. She asked if we were taling about God in the context of Christian Science, and asked her if that was disagreeable to her. She responed by saying something like “ Anything that makes you feel better and gives you hope can only help you.” He responded with a comment something like “Maybe medical doctors don’t really have all of the answers. Maybe there are other ways to look at this thing.”
I stayed up late that night, rejoicing in a feeling of the presence of love. I thought of how, earlier that day he had told me how the new thoughts of God and his new knowledge of his relationship with Him had given him an uplifting sense of hope which was replacing a sense of despair. He had said that he actually felt that nobody really cared until I started to show him how to pray. I told him that they do care, but just did not understand how to approach his relationship to God with him in a beneficial way, because they too felt that he was defeated. It was reported that the following morning he ate a bowl of cereal, also with no physical disagreements.
But, the next day was the last one in which I was able to speak with him in any length about God, or to pray directly with him. In that last meeting we again read Psalms which focused on God’s love, and we discussed the meaning of sacrifice as the voluntary loss of matter as one gains spiritual confidence. We discussed how anything antagonistic or injurious is not legitimate, not an effect of God, and that it was therefore his enemy, and invalid. We read two healings from the Chapter entitled Fruitage from Science and Health. And from the Chapter on prayer in Science and Health, we dwelt on the power of Christ and the usefulness of depending on Jesus’ teachings to discover our true being. We began to explore the concept of the false mortal mind, and discussed 2 sections of the Bible lesson that week, whose subject was “Mind”. We talked about how the false view, held by mortal mind, was the source of the objectionable images appearing as a sick body. We discussed how, since God is good and infinite, there could be no possibility for such things to exist at all, except in the false mortal mind view. And we discussed our identity as being in the one divine Mind – that there are not actually many independent minds and existences, as the human consciousness claims.
He did well the remainder of that day. However, he was visited by another well meaning relative that day. His wife told of his great improvement since he had been thinking about Christian Science. As is was reported to me, this relative was greatly disturbed by this news. She warned that she knew a story about someone who had died while relying on prayer in Christian Science, and had refused medical help. This was an imposition of animal magnetism, the world belief that only medical science knows how to cure all disease and has the exclusive right to do so. I did all I knew how to do. I prayed to the best of my ability to impersonalize this mistake, and to know that nothing can actually stop or block the healing action of divine love. Perhaps I doubted my ability to overcome the objection to the healing we had all been witnessing. That evening, I was instructed by his wife to stop reading or reciting any material from Mary Baker Eddy’s writings. The disturbance felt vey disrupting, and I complied with the request. I felt that God was telling me that what had happened so far was the action of God, and that what he had gained so far in his understanding could never be lost. This was on a Friday. I stayed away until the next Wednesday. In the mean time I spent time studying Mrs. Eddy’s article entitled “Ways That are Vain” from Miscellaneous Writings, which deals with how to mentally handle subtle forms of lying animal magnetism , or false human belief and fear.
The Tuesday night before I came to visit him again on Wednesday, I received a call from his wife that he was almost passing on during the night. This was at about 230 am. I kept my perceptions clear and stayed up in prayer until about 4 am. I was praying to dissolve the animal magnetism that claimed to be able to separate him from learning more of the Truth that really heals. I prayed to see him clearly as God’s perfect reflection, dwelling on every good aspect of his nature that I had ever seen. During this time of prayer I felt a connection which could only be described as a feeling of speaking directly with him and feeling that he heard my thought, even though he was not present. I do not know the details of what happened at his house, as I was not present, and was not asked to do anything – I only received the call about his serious condition and knew no more. He did not pass on then, and made it through the night. I think that he now had something to hold onto and fight for life with – hope.
I had the prayerful long distance support of my Christian Science teacher when I spoke with his wife the next day. I expressed my concern that there seemed to be very big misunderstandings going on. Christian Science treatment had been referred to, to the wife, by the well-meaning relative, as brainwashing, hypnotism. His son, however had called me personally immediately after the interference occurred, to thank me for giving his father something to live for and to be happy about. I related her son’s viewpoint with her, and invited her to speak with him and verify what I said. She said that this was not necessary, because he had already said the same things to her also. She was till apprehensive and afraid of the unknown. I explained a little more to her, about how Christian Science is basic healing Christianity, and that what her husband and I had essentially discussed was entirely Biblical I nature, being primarily selected Psalms and readings from the Gospels. I attempted to carefully explain that many vicious lies are commonly told about Christian Science by those who have not investigated it. In response, she stated that if her husband asked for any more spiritual guidance through her, then she might grant that request, but that she felt he needed her specific consent and protection against what she feared might be a bad thing.
I did my best to understand that this was not a personal attack, but simply the deception of evil. I had the opportunity to apologize to her husband for not being there for several days. He was aware of the controversy, but being a humble man, he felt it was most comfortable for the family if he did not specifically request prayer from me through his wife. He only wanted to keep feeling peaceful and to not be a part to a controversy.
The last time I saw him he was sleeping. I sat by his bedside and just quietly prayed to be able to continue to see him as God made him, in His perfect image. I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, and reviewed the Scientific Statement of Being (from Recapitulation in Science and Health) silently, and prayed with him alone for about 15 minutes. When I last saw him he was in a deep and natural peaceful sleep. This was on Wednesday. He passed way quietly on Friday in the presence of his immediate family, and I a told was not in pain.
This was a touching experience to me. I know that the truth he learned stayed with him, in whatever realm he passed into. He went on to be a better man in the next phase than he would have been without this newfound spiritual understanding. In those few days, he advanced very far spiritually. I remain convinced that this brought him to a new and higher state of being that could never be reversed. Today I still sometimes have dreams about this man. I don’t know what they mean or why I have them. I can only speculate.
S.W. Mountain View, MO