Introductory Thoughts on God and Healing
Before recounting this testimony affirming the marvelous effects of acknowledging God’s goodness and love upon human experience, let us introduce what exactly is meant by the word “healing”. To the Christian Scientist, the phenomenon known as “healing” expresses a radically different concept than does that word to most of the world. Healing is, to everyone, the appearance of health and goodness and the corresponding disappearance of sin, disease, and all discordant situations which come to human experience. Christian Science thought begins on a platform which acknowledges neither authority nor validity in any aspect of experience which indicates or expresses traits or characteristics contrary to the nature of God. “God” it defines as “The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.” (Science and Health page 587). In the Christianly scientific view, only God and God’s direct spiritual effects possess true validity. Therefore the appearance of sin, disease, war, discord, death, etc., being opposite in nature to the eternal and perfect effects of God, in spite of their seeming reality in our conscious experience, are seen as invalid conscious experiences. Although they are perfectly real and valid to the human mind, they are invalid in the Mind of God. That which has its source in an evil force is rendered invalid by the realization of the admission of the infinite omnipotence of God’s goodness. Our task in accomplishing the appearance of healing is to realize the authority and validity only of divine consciousness within our human experience – to separate the invalid from the valid, the chaff from the wheat, so to speak.
To the Christian Scientist, healing is the proof of the invalidity of evil, demonstrated by flooding conscious thought with the validity of God, – “incorporeal, divine, supreme infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, principle, Life, Truth, Love”, (Science and Health page 465) washing the invalid suppositions of evil away from and completely out of human consciousness. Thus, healing in Christian Science is not the removal of the presence of a valid evil. Rather, it is the purification of consciousness through which any evil presentation is understood to be invalid and deceptive. The following experience is a lovely example of witnessing the effects of such elevation of consciousness through prayer which lifts conscious experience out of evil and into the realm of God’s eternal reality of perfection.
Background for the Healing
My wife and family live very rurally. We are near the end of a dead end dirt road almost three miles from the nearest paved state highway. We dearly love animals, especially dogs. There are six of them here. Two of them are full time indoor dogs. Our three lab based dogs are part time outdoor dogs, and our goat and property guardian dog, Caspar, lives outdoors full time. Caspar roams the area freely. He knows his boundaries, loves his home, and never leaves the immediate area on his own. The three labs are Casey, a full blooded chocolate colored male lab, Greta, a female yellow lab mix, and Queen, a black lab mix. These three stay in a fenced pasture area and have the full run of about an acre of land. They have dog houses out there, but generally spend the nights inside with us. Occasionally they do get out the gate by accident, but do not usually go far. Caspar is usually separated from them, and they visit through the fences.
On Friday after Thanksgiving, I was in my office on a phone call when my wife informed me that the gate had been pushed open. Casey and Greta had gotten out, and apparently had taken off into the woods with Caspar following them. Though Caspar never departs on his own, time he was influenced by the labs. For several hours we called for them, drove up and down the road in the car, and walked into the woods both behind and in front of the house, but with no response. In about 3 hours it began to get dark. None of these dogs had ever been missing this long before. We began to worry, as human beings are so accustomed to doing. At around 10 pm, something told me to take a drive on the next road north of us. We did so. We drove probably five miles out and five miles back, but we saw no signs of our animals.
The Healing Thoughts
The first night that the dogs were gone was typically humanly reactive. We had just witnessed the healing of paralysis in Casey only one week earlier. This loss seemed to me a bit like evil’s slap in the face, another attempt designed to convince me that God is not really omnipotent. I spent the first night in what could be called superficial prayer – a sort of almost pleading prayer combined with worrying. Worrying indicates a subtle belief in the power of the threat. Though I had made feeble attempts to pray, my thought was overpowered with fear. Near morning I woke up from a dream in which the dogs had been found, but when I realized that I was awake, then I knew that the dogs had not been found in my waking consciousness, and that they were only found in that dream.
And so I began to consider the following: Every thing of which I am aware, or conscious, comes to me through entertaining thoughts. If the assurance of knowing that the dogs were safe which I had felt in my dream state made me feel secure, would not the assurance of knowing they were safe in my waking state not only bring assurance, but bring consciousness one step closer to reality than the dream had done? That dream experience made me realize that as soon as my doubts and fears were gone, the only thing that could remain would be the love which was present in the first place.
With this in mind, Kristen and I took the next logical human steps. We focused on calming our fears, and on taking some human steps to find our beloved dogs. On Saturday morning we printed up a stack of fliers with pictures of the dogs on them and our telephone numbers. These we posted on telephone poles and mailboxes in conspicuous places within a few miles of our property. I used the occasion of the drive to calm thought and to feel peaceful. We talked to a couple of neighbors who happened to be out when we stopped at their mailbox. Then we came home to regroup mentally. My peaceful prayer which included reviewing thoughts of joy which the dogs bring us, brought to me this phrase from a Hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal (Number 427) : “The joy that none can take away is mine, I walk with love today” So, walking seemed like a good idea. We spent the remainder of the daylight hours walking the properties behind our house, calling for the dogs there. We walked a good 3 to 4 miles, up and down, all along the length of a logging road which runs parallel to our road and about 1000 feet behind our property. There were no dogs, but we did discover some beautiful places very near the house which we had never before seen. At one point, climbing a steep hill, we stopped and talked and prayed. We went home in a more peaceful state of mind. But it still seemed as if the dogs had simply vanished. There was no earthly sign of them.
Thinking about those words about “walking with love” I prayed again. I considered the “walk with love” that we had taken in the afternoon. In that consideration came the assurance and realization that each and every idea of God also walks with love. So, I prayed the 23rd Psalm from the perspective of the dogs. The Lord is their shepherd. He maketh them lie in green pastures. He leadeth them beside the still waters. Every idea of God is safe, always joyful, eternally enveloped in divine Love, and this all in spite of the claims of the human picture which wanted to tell me that the dogs were in danger. We had been told by a neighbor how her own dog had been mysteriously shot and killed in her own driveway. This suggestion and fear of the presence of an evil and malicious dog killing man had to be dispelled from thought. In spite of the threats, the reality of God’s all encompassing presence is that there is NO danger, for God is All-in-all. I began to think in spiritual terms, that “place” and “space” are not physical, and that in the realm of God they are purely mental states. I gained a recognition that the presence of the dogs in my thought is all of the presence there really is. I knew that I must realize that presence with an absolute trust and assurance that God is All, and that evil is therefore nothing but delusion. Then the presence of the dogs would become manifest to me. A deep contemplation of that concept was my prayer as I went to sleep that night.
In the morning, I resolved to continue with my accustomed activities, both prayerful and physical, and not to let this disturbance affect our lives. The purpose of daily prayerful mental preparation is to keep conscious thought aligned with God’s ever present and actual harmony, in spite of what appears to be going on in the human world. The first thing I did was to commence to rid my thought completely of fear by flooding consciousness with the awareness of divine Love. I reasoned to myself that by so affirming, I would be replacing the entertainment of invalid false and evil beliefs with the presence of their real and substantial opposite, the presence of God. Since I admit God to be omnipotent goodness, whatever takes place in God’s universe is eternally harmonious and ever present, and is all that is. So, the evil which I was imagining that could take place, simply is not, by virtue of God’s ever-presence. My prayer is just a mental vehicle which brings me to the awareness of the perfect and ever present kingdom, in which all of God’s creation permanently and continuously resides in Spirit, and not in matter. When this feeling becomes more than just wishful or positive thinking, it is transformed into solid conviction and assurance. Fervent prayer is necessary to reach this point of the absolute assurance of the presence of divine Love.
That was exactly where my thought was dwelling when the phone rang at about 10:30AM on Sunday morning. A very nice lady about 3 miles away had seen the posters we had posted on telephone poles at an empty rural intersection. She and her family were feeding their horses which reside on the property at that corner, and they saw our dogs hanging around in the road there. We got in the Jeep and drove there immediately, and there were the dogs! Right where we had posted fliers 24 hours before, and on the very same road which I had felt guided to search on Friday night, but on which we had seen nothing.
Now of course, skeptics always object, and they will say that prayer had nothing to do with what would appear to them to be a very unlikely set of random circumstances coming together. Let me point out some unlikely random things here. First of all, this was a rural intersection. When I say rural, most urban dwellers do not have a clue what I mean by the word rural. These are unpaved county roads in rough and half wooded cattle country. It means that a car might pass by this place on an unpaved road perhaps 10 times in a day. This is the middle of God’s country. So, what brought these people to this intersection to feed their horses at exactly the same time that our dogs were wandering past them, at exactly the same time I was praying to understand that their presence in my consciousness would manifest itself as experience? And what caused me to post our fliers there so far from home? There were certainly other intersections at which we did not post any signs.
If this sort of experience came once in a lifetime, I might entertain more doubts. But these kinds of experiences have been coming to me for 56 years, and most particularly and with higher frequency since dedicating my life to full time prayer. Just a week earlier, I had healed one of these very same dogs of a paralysis which had prevented him from operating his back legs. The healing had come by the same methods of thought. Are these all coincidences? Every week a new one? I have met gradually increasing success in proving by demonstration that consistently and constantly focusing thought in this manner does bring harmony to human experience. It does so in direct proportion to my entertainment of God’s ever present Principle. Christian Science reveals that we are not subjects of external influences at all! Every single momentary occurrence in our lives unfolds exactly as our human mind prepares it, whether consciously or subconsciously. Becoming continuously aware of the fact of God’s omnipotence at every moment of every situation does bring continuous control and peace to life! Deliberate peaceful thinking and fervent prayer does bless one with a happy life. Contrariwise, continual worry and fear brings one the appearance of constantly annoying and undesirable human experiences. Isn’t it better to be in the driver’s seat of the car of life, than to just be along for the ride at the mercy of where the car of life happens to randomly steer itself?
I will be eternally grateful for the Master Christian, Christ Jesus, for carrying out his mission of showing us all that we must remove the sins of the world. And I will be eternally grateful for Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science who revealed to the world that Jesus’ mission is fulfilled when we realize the depth of that word “sin”. Sin is but the impossible and false acknowledgment of powers supposed to be external to God’s perfect guiding Principle, which is ever in constant control. And there simply exists nothing outside of the influence of omnipresent, omnipotent Principle, or God. For how can you get to the outside of infinity?