I can hear my dad's voice as he pitched the softball across the lawn. I stood with my feet spread, ready to swing. "Keep your eye on the ball," he reminded me. I missed so many times! But when I really did what my dad said - focused intently on the ball until I could see the stitches on it - the bat made solid contact. It made a loud crack! and the ball soared.
Later, when I learned to play tennis, it was the same thing. No matter what was going on around me - little kids outside the fence, a conversation behind me, or a squirrel on the court - I had to keep focused on my target in order to make a good shot.
It's a lesson that applies to many activities. When I was in college, it even helped me overcome sickness.
One day I became ill with severe pain below my stomach. Friends cared for me until our Christian Science organization adviser, the staff member on campus who sponsored our group, took me to her home. I also called a Christian Science practitioner, who agreed to pray for me.
When I reached my adviser's home and crawled into her guest bed, I was still in pain. But I knew I had a choice. I could either pay attention to the pain and be frightened by it, or I could give my full attention to what God was telling me. Over the previous several months, I had been growing in my understanding of God as Love.
I had been studying the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. I had also heard a lot of testimonies of healing at the weekly meetings of the Christian Science organization on campus. So I felt confident that this divine Love was all-powerful and that it could heal me.
I looked up some favorite verses in the Bible and passages from Science and Health. As I prayed, ideas from these books comforted me - ideas such as, "God, Love, fills all space. Divine Love is the only presence and the only power. It is with me right now."
These thoughts were evidence that the Christ, Truth, was with me - messages God sends to help and heal us.
I decided to really focus on these messages instead of on the pain. As I did this, the pain lessened. Soon I fell asleep. When I woke up about a half-hour later, the pain was completely gone. "I'm healed!" I called out to the adviser. It was very exciting.
Christian prayer - the kind of prayer that healed me - doesn't involve thinking about something else in order to distract yourself so you don't notice the pain. This would be a kind of hypnotism. But Christian prayer gives all power to God. It makes God's loving truth the focus of your thought. It keeps your mental "eye" on God and His love, no matter what else is going on. Then you find out that what's really going on is good.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "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). She goes on to say that your calm trust in God, based on understanding Him as all- harmonious Life, will heal you.
Clinging to the Truth, focusing on what God was saying, healed me. It can heal you, too. Just keep your eye on the ball - on the spiritual idea that His love is pitching to you.
your God is with you
wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9, New English Bible