WHEN I was a child, occasional bouts with illness were times when great love and careful attention were shown toward me. The fears and discomforts have vanished from memory, leaving only sweet recollections of my parents' trust in prayer and their tireless, confident care. It was no coincidence that illnesses were over quickly. ``God is love,'' 1 the Bible tells us. And, He ``healeth all thy diseases.'' 2 A parent's pure, unselfish affection has its source in the divine Love that heals all our troubles. While it was always God's all-powerful love that brought about healing in my life, my parents' tender care made it easy for me to trust and understand His loving presence. My parents were also raised in families that depended solely on God for healing. Both had witnessed many proofs that prayer, based on an understanding of God, is effective. Their tenderness was backed up by a realization that the power of God destroys sickness and pain, as our Master, Christ Jesus, showed so clearly. A family experience might serve as an example. One winter, we piled warm clothes and ski equipment into our station wagon and headed west. First we hit a blizzard. Then car trouble delayed us. A whole day of skiing and prepaid meals and lodging was lost from a week that already promised to be too short. After we finally arrived at our destination, we had just begun to socialize with other families when I became dizzy and nauseated. My mother bundled me up, brought me to our cabin, and helped me to bed. Then she sat beside me, reading aloud from a book that explained how God loved me and protected me from sickness. I always found it comforting to hear her read from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.3 Soon Dad appeared with my brother, who had become ill at the dinner table. It was then that Mom knew she had to master the disappointment that had grown stronger with every new blow to our plans. Her prayer took the form of letting go of her own cherished intentions for the week and yielding to God's will. She knew that the will of divine Love must be good and tender, and that if she reflected the love of God in her thoughts and actions, she would witness His provision for our family. She realized that even if she had to miss another day of skiing in order to care for us, she would be content to experience the kingdom of God right there in the cabin. Jesus said, ``The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.'' 4 Instead of thinking, lo there on the ski slopes, or lo here in a couple of days, my mother chose to follow the Master's instruction and find the kingdom within. She became conscious of God's loving, healing presence at that very moment, right where she was. The next morning we all were entirely well and eager to be out! We skied that day, and every day after, in perfect health. Science and Health states, ``The procuring cause and foundation of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin.'' 5 These are states of thought, not conditions of matter. My parents concluded that putting the responsibility for their children's welfare onto someone else's shoulders, or onto some thing, would not remove the procuring cause of a trouble. Nor would sitting back in some sort of blind, optimistic trust. They worked and studied and prayed to transform thought instead. They replaced fear, ignorance, and sin with the confident understanding of God's control over all His creation. And they kept working until healing came. Healing in Christian Science does require something of us. It requires wisdom, receptivity, understanding, moral strength, spiritual conviction. It requires a profound desire and willingness to obey all the commands of our Way-shower, Jesus, and of the Mosaic Decalogue. It involves praying, searching, listening for the Scriptures' spiritual meaning. In return for obedience we receive much. We discern more of our true selfhood as God's perfect image. And health and spiritual growth are the
inevitable consequence of understanding how God has actually fashioned us. This wholehearted reliance on God was a deeply stirring way to be raised. It was safe, responsible, full of love. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. 1 I John 4:8. 2 Psalms 103:3. 3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4 Luke 17:20, 21. 5 Science and Health, p. 411.