I love taking long walks on the beach at sunrise or sunset. A couple of summers ago, stepping out for one of these early morning treks, I felt reluctant about going.
I'd been at the seashore for almost a month, but I hadn't been able to take my walks. I felt there was something physically wrong with me – something inside me that didn't belong. I suspected a tumor. My pants weren't buttoning, and the symptoms were frightening. I didn't have a medical diagnosis, because I was treating myself by the spiritual means I'd always used in the past.
That morning I went anyway, praying to God for support – to be more aware of His presence than of this condition.
As I walked, I picked up a sea-worn pebble, which brought to mind a Bible story that mentions smooth stones. When David was preparing to meet Goliath, he used smooth stones as weapons instead of the unfamiliar gear that had been offered him.
Goliath has always represented to me a looming threat, and David's stones, familiar ideas that would defend against such an enemy. As I walked I collected five beautiful stones – all different shapes and colors. I didn't know what David's stones were meant to represent, but I listened in prayer to hear what spiritual facts might come to my defense and comfort me in my battle for health and peace. They came like this:
1. God made me.
2. God loves me.
3. God maintains me.
4. God showers me with blessings.
5. These are permanent facts – true now and always.
These thoughts gave me something inspiring to work with. I lined up the stones along my window, and each time I saw them, I remembered what each one represented.
A couple of months later, while on the beach on a blustery fall day, some wild weather blew in, and I was nowhere close to home. I could barely stand against the wind.
It was a metaphor for my feelings. I felt worn out from fighting this condition. I needed inspiration, a message from God to help face down this Goliath. Drenched in rainy tears, I stopped and asked myself, What are you so afraid of? The reply came: The problem is that, although you've faced down many things in your life, you have never felt such despair.
At first it made sense. But then I remembered some of the spiritual healings I'd had in the past, and I realized that fear had been a factor – even the threat of death. And each time, those threats had been faced down through prayer.
So I had dealt with these issues before. Seeing that I'd almost been duped helped me realize that the entire presentation of disease is a deception. A trick. It's totally unlike God. So it can't be real. My work now was to see through this trick, to realize that although sickness – or any evil – seems to be real, it is only illusive, mistaken thinking.
Still standing in the driving rain, I thought: So now what? How do you get home? These questions applied to the rainstorm and the mental swirl. Then, a strong message came: You will work this out as you have worked out other situations. You will put one foot in front of the other and go forward. One thought would follow the next, and healing ideas would bring me out of darkness and disease.
Each step brought more hope. The storm raged, but I felt calm assurance. God was with me and would guide me to healing.
I got home and saw those five stones. As I reviewed their messages, those ideas began to overshadow my bodily complaints. I turned to God constantly, but calmly. I saw the symptoms as challenges to the five spiritual facts I'd been savoring. I could object to them because God gives His crea-tion only good. And this divine good is permanent.
I thought about who I am – an expression of God, one of Spirit's ideas. I prayed, considering what it means to be a spiritual idea. I concluded that a spiritual idea is just like the divine Mind that conceived it. It includes all good, all right and healthy concepts. Its activity is to express the goodness and harmony of its Maker.
I don't know when my clothes began to fit again and when the odd sensation of something inside me left, but I soon felt normal.
Weeks later, I found this passage in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "Speak the truth to every form of error. Tumors, ulcers, tubercles, inflammation, pain, deformed joints, are waking dream-shadows, dark images of mortal thought, which flee before the light of Truth" (p. 418).
I'd just seen the power of speaking the truth. I'd learned that I could stand up to this list of conditions because Truth, God, is all-powerful. These descriptions of evil have no power, because God did not make them. Storms clear. And with the light, comes victory.
Adapted from The Christian Science Journal.