The choice is ours

While carrying a heavy bag of groceries I stepped in a rut in the sidewalk, not seeing it. My ankle gave way, twisting badly. I caught myself from falling to the ground but was in intense pain. Walking seemed impossible, but I knew I was not alone. I knew that God was with me.

As a practicing Christian Scientist, I was accustomed to turning to God as my present help, and I did so then. A statement by Mary Baker Eddy n1 from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, came quickly to thought: ''When an accident happens, you think or exclaim, 'I am hurt!' Your thought is more powerful than your words, more powerful than the accident itself, to make the injury real.''

n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

She goes on to say: ''Now reverse the process. Declare that you are not hurt and understand the reason why, and you will find the ensuing good effects to be in exact proportion to your disbelief in physics, and your fidelity to divine metaphysics, confidence in God as All, which the Scriptures declare Him to be.'' n2

n2 Science and Health, p. 397.

There was a choice to be made here, and I could see that the choice was mine alone. I decided to choose not to be hurt and understand the reason why, and with that decision I was able slowly to get to the car.

Choosing not to be hurt may sound utterly amazing, and perhaps laughable to those who are not familiar with Christian Science. After all, one might say you can't ignore sickness and pain; there are physical laws that govern us and there's not much anyone can do about them.

Christian Science, far from from ignoring suffering, confronts it head-on by taking a radically different view of man and the universe, a view based on a spiritual sense of the Bible's message. To the Christian Scientist the true nature of life is spiritual because it's the outcome of God, who, as the Scriptures teach, is Spirit. The laws governing life are also spiritual and are therefore good and upheld by God.

Could this be the view that Christ Jesus held as he went about healing all kinds of disease? To the man with the withered hand he said, ''Stretch forth thine hand,'' n3 and the hand was immediately made whole. The master Christian must have understood that there was a higher, spiritual law that governed the man. This higher law supersedes the supposed material laws that insist such conditions are unhealable and that we are therefore doomed to endure them.

n3 Matthew 12:13.

A radical view? Yes. But a practical one, supported by the Biblical truth that God created all and that His creation is good. The Christian Science textbook states, ''Creation rests on a spiritual basis.'' n4 And elsewhere the textbook states: ''The standard of perfection was originally God and man. Has God taken down his own standard, and has man fallen?'' n5

n4 Science and Health, p. 555.

n5 Ibid., p.470.

If creation is, in truth, entirely spiritual, matter, with its discord, must be a false sense, a misperception, of creation that seems substantial only to the material senses. Knowing that man is created spiritually, we gain more dominion over material conditions. We come to see that man cannot be subject to discord, to pain or disease; that he is, and remains, perfect, free from suffering of any kind, free from accident. This truth, held to through prayer, can destroy the suffering associated with an accident.

As I drove along, I was filled with these truths to the extent that I became deeply conscious of God's perfect spiritual universe, which includes me! The pain receded, and by the time I had driven ten blocks (including a quick stop at the bank drive-in window) there was no more pain. I stepped out of the car completely free.

Yes, the choice is ours. As we are enlightened by the Biblical truths taught in Christian Science, we can choose - to be free. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. . . .Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. . . . The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. . . . I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:1, 4-7, 13

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