It was a devastating way to begin her final program. Sasha Cohen, the United States Olympic figure skater, fell on her first jump and hit the ice again when she attempted a second jump. With three minutes and 25 seconds to go (out of a four-minute program), she had a choice: give up or fight to come back. She fought and won - skating a beautiful program the rest of the way and winning a silver medal.
Cohen described what happened: "It was very difficult because those opening jumps were not easy. But I was able to believe, when everything was dark and gray" (The Boston Globe, Feb. 24).
She didn't say what she believed in - perhaps she believed in herself, in her own resilience and ability to persist. Whatever it was, she found the strength, courage, and willingness to give her best despite all those voices that must have screamed at her that all was lost and that there wasn't a reason to have much hope.
Watching Cohen's comeback performance made me think more deeply about what it is that I believe in.
I've had lots of opportunities myself not just to accept what look like insurmountable obstacles but to challenge them. Whatever the darkness - fear, accidents, sickness, disappointment, sadness, dissatisfaction, limitation, financial problems - I've found that believing in God and His power provides direction and healing answers.
In the Bible, Jesus emphasized the importance of believing in the power of Christ. He said: "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life" (John 3:16, Eugene Peterson, "The Message").
One time a royal official whose son was very ill begged Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus said to him, "Go, your son will live" (John 4:50, New Revised Standard Version). And the man believed Jesus and started on his way. On his way home, his servants met him and told him that his son was alive. The father realized that his son began recovering at the time Jesus had told him that his son would live. The man and his entire household believed.
Mary Baker Eddy, a serious student of the Bible and the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: "'Believe ... and thou shalt be saved!' demands self-reliant trustworthiness, which includes spiritual understanding and confides all to God." She explained the faith that heals to be the kind that "understands divine Love and how to work out one's 'own salvation...'" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 23).
That's the faith I needed - the kind that "understands divine Love" (God) - when I faced allergies that made me miserable. Although I've had lots of physical healings through Christian Science, this difficulty seemed overwhelming and unhealable.
There didn't seem to be any logical reason to believe that I could be healed. After all, the reasoning went "you have had this problem too long, it's just part of you; you'll just have to live with it."
But part of me rebelled against this logic because deep down I know that God, Love, sends all of His children only good, not evil.
I began to pray more wholeheartedly, more diligently, and more hopefully. Eventually I found a new idea from Love that changed my perspective and made me believe that healing was possible. This idea - that Love, God, is the only Creator of the spiritual universe and made it all good - also showed me that pollen wasn't something that would hurt me. Pollen represented renewal and life, and that was good, not evil. When I accepted this idea and let it change my thinking, my fear dissolved and the allergies disappeared. I've been free for several years.
What do you believe in? Believing in God and His Christ promises you a life filled with more hope, light, and healing.