IT is the will of our heavenly Father-Mother God that we be free of suffering. What's more, the power of God is at hand to help us find health and harmony. Whatever the need is, God can supply it.
How can I be so sure? Well, here's just one example. I had an incapacitating pain in my abdomen. I was hoping it would go away. But over many hours, it kept getting worse.
I realized that I needed to do more than just wait for the pain to subside! In reaching out to God for help, I turned to the twenty-third Psalm in the Bible. It begins, ``The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.'' I was feeling a great want--for relief--and it couldn't come too quickly. But according to the promise of this verse, I couldn't be in a position of lack. God would never allow it.
I had to see this as true for myself, so I continued to pray. I knew from past experiences of healing that a consciousness of God heals suffering. But to be conscious of God, I needed to turn attention away from the body to considering more profoundly God's ability to keep me free and well. I affirmed God, good, to be the only power over me. I prayed for a sustained awareness of His omnipresent goodness. I was sure this would displace the suffering.
Christian Science explains that physical suffering is the effect of a wrong concept of God. Once the wrong concept is replaced with an accurate, spiritually enlightened view, the suffering disappears.
The wrong sense of God I was striving to be free of was, I realized, the belief that somehow I was separated from God's love and care. In spiritual fact, this is impossible, for God is everywhere. We can never exist outside His all-encompassing embrace. It seemed to me that my feeling of separation was a result of believing something that isn't true--believing that I was a helpless mortal and thus out of the reach of God. What is true is that I am (and you are too) the perfect child of God. My spiritual oneness with God is an established fact that will never change. I can't be separated from God, not even for an instant.
As I continued to pray, I could see that in an effort to find relief from the pain, I had been trying to sleep it off, to distract my attention from it by eating, to outmaneuver it by lying in a number of creative positions. But none of these attempts to find comfort really had a chance of working. In fact, they really showed a doubt in my heart that God was in full control of my life and able to comfort and heal me right then and there. So I abandoned these attempts and redoubled my efforts to trust my well-being to God's care. I was soon able to quit believing that relief was going to come from any source other than God. I sat still and listened while my wife patiently and lovingly read the twenty-third Psalm out loud to me.
I listened with all my heart to the familiar words that assure us of God's love and care. Then I was reminded of a statement by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes, speaking of God as divine Mind: ``Banish the belief that you can possibly entertain a single intruding pain which cannot be ruled out by the might of Mind, and in this way you can prevent the development of pain in the body'' (p. 391). This was a spiritual directive I could act upon.
I began actively removing every suggestion that said I needed to suffer or deserved to suffer or could suffer. As I did this, I became surer than ever that divine Love was present, guiding, restoring, and supplying whatever was necessary for a triumph over this trouble. The pain soon vanished and I was permanently free.
We do not need to resign ourselves to suffering. Another psalm assures us, ``God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble'' (46:1). To abide consciously in this truth is to find freedom from whatever would oppress us.
Neither shall there be any more pain.