I HAD been having nightmares every night for two years. It was the same dream over and over--a rehearsal of a very difficult experience in my life. I badly needed relief but felt helpless to prevent the nightmares because they took place while I was asleep. I felt I had no control over the situation.
As a student of Christian Science, however, I had learned to turn to God for help with all kinds of problems. I knew that God loved me as His dear child, and He certainly didn't intend for me to suffer. Because I felt so overwhelmed by these continual nightmares, I finally asked another Christian Scientist to pray with me about this. This individual is a Christian Science practitioner, a person who devotes his life to helping others find peace and healing through turning to God in prayer.
When we pray we are acknowledging the power of God to heal. We are opening our thought to the fact that there is a loving God who governs His creation with compassion and authority, and we are placing ourselves in His care.
I began to pray more earnestly about this situation and to acknowledge the allness of God's goodness and the nothingness of evil's claim to power. I saw that I needed to get to the root of the difficulty, which I could only do by letting God's Word do its work in transforming my thought. I certainly didn't know, myself, what needed correcting to stop the nightmares!
In Hebrews we read: ``The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." No one knows us better than God does. He created us to be like Him, so He knows of our innate goodness, innocence, and purity. At the same time, His Word pierces and deflates even the most stubborn of fears and memories, enabling us to live lives blessed by H im.
God governs everything about His creation--even man's consciousness! Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, tells us in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Consciousness, as well as action, is governed by Mind,--is in God, the origin and governor of all that Science reveals." When we go to sleep at night, we are not vulnerable to the unknown dark recesses of a mortal mind. Whether we're awake or asleep, the truth is that God cares for us by giving us His thoughts. He is always awake, always watching over us as His beloved reflection, man. Our role is to acknowledge this.
During this time of earnest prayer, a small detail of the nightmare suddenly came to mind. This small incident had been like a thorn in my side for those two years through the nightmares. The memory of it brought regret out of all proportion to the misdeed. Soon, however, I realized that what I really needed to be challenging was not the nightmarish event in the dream but the belief that I or anyone could ever lapse from harmony. I began to see that no human circumstance had the power to change the fact that man is--that I am--the child of God. God's man cannot fall from grace. There is not a moment when he is outside God's government.
The nightmares stopped that day.
Nightmares have no God-given authority to usurp our peace. God's Word, the sword of Truth, works like a searchlight that is turned on in a cave. It chases away the darkness of ghostlike concerns and leaves us refreshed and at peace.