A faith to go forward

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

Late in C.S. Lewis's fifth book of "The Chronicles of Narnia," "The Silver Chair," two children and their Narnian companion become prisoners of an evil witch, who tries to persuade them that their memories of life outside her subterranean kingdom are only delusions. Their former friends, the king they serve, and the sun itself are mere dreams, the witch tells them, and the only reality is her dark, grim, underground world.

Hypnotized, the captives begin to doubt themselves. One of them, at the last moment, gathers his wits and tells the witch in his dialect that even if she is right and he has only dreamed the world he described, he will hang on to his faith and "live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia." His courage breaks the spell and ends their captivity.

Lewis's defense of faith and spiritual sense rings true. When the evidence against good piles high and claims to speak with authority, it is easy to doubt if we have reason to believe in something better. Yet faith - what the Bible called "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb 11:1), is actually natural to us. It may seem distant or difficult to reach, but we can find our way home to the light and warmth of God's goodness.

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Turning to God in times of trouble has always been normal in my family. My childhood was full of wonderful healings through Christian Science. But when I began raising my own children, I found my faith strongly challenged. When faced with an ill or injured child, I often found myself wondering if my experiences of God's love might belong to a world and time I could no longer reach.

When one of my daughters was 3, she was taking a walk with her father. When he brought her inside, her legs were covered in blood. Alarmed, I knelt down next to her and asked her what had happened. In a matter-of-fact voice she explained that she had fallen into a pile of barbed wire. As I washed her, I began to worry.

I wanted to pray, but my attempts were mostly fear-filled petitions for help that came nowhere near the calm and joyous sense of God's presence that I had learned to associate with prayer in Christian Science.

Picking up on these unspoken fears, my daughter turned to me and asked, "Are you scared about this?"

Before I could answer, she added, "Mom, God is taking care of everything!"

There was something in her voice that cut right through the feelings of helplessness. Those words were like a light being turned on. We were not muddling through on our own; I was not separate from healing, blessing Love; and there was more here than mortal, material expectations could perceive.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the Christian Science textbook: "The evidence of the physical senses often reverses the real Science of being, and so creates a reign of discord, - assigning seeming power to sin, sickness, and death; but the great facts of Life, rightly understood, defeat this triad of errors, contradict their false witnesses, and reveal the kingdom of heaven, - the actual reign of harmony on earth" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 122).

As we finished cleaning up, I felt full of gratitude for the fresh, clear sense of inseparability from God's good that my daughter's words had inspired. The dark feelings of doubt were gone. She was comfortable and happy.

The next day my daughter was completely healed. There was not so much as a scratch on her legs. I rejoiced in our God-given ability to live as children in His kingdom, and in the way faith can reveal that kingdom to us, wherever we are, regardless of our circumstances.

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