'IT will hold you up," said my mother. Her arms were securely holding me while I tried to find the courage to allow the back of my head to rest on the water. I was learning to float. At that moment it was hard to understand why I was not going to sink the minute she took her arms away. But I did learn to trust and let my head rest on the gentle waves. And soon enough I could float, and swim even.
I thought again of those days at the beach years later, when I wanted to know something more about the nature of God. In my desire for answers, I read widely from many different faiths and traditions, appreciating each. Among other things, I was introduced to a book by Mary Baker Eddy called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This is the Christian Science textbook. I read it, marking it up and writing in the margins. I was impressed by its logic, challenged by its ideas, and touched by its relevance to my own life. I found a whole new perspective on life that I couldn't honestly dismiss.
The Bible says in Proverbs, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (3:5). And I was beginning to see that God is supreme good, the basis and foundation of everything real.
I learned to trust the Bible as a practical daily guide. By letting the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount provide answers to my questions and decisions, I found I was calmer and acted more intelligently. This was definitely freeing, and I welcomed it. This kind of searching is always progressive, and it improves the details of our lives. It requires work, but it's also a lot of fun!
Where does trust come in? Science and Health says, "Step by step will those who trust Him find that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble' " (p. 444). Trust is needed to change familiar patterns of thought and behavior. Learning to rely on spiritual laws is a little like learning to trust the buoyant properties of water in order to swim. But does it take trust to make the water buoyant? No! It takes trust to utilize that buoyancy, which is already a fact. Similarly, trust in God, based on a proven understanding of Him, grows as spiritual ideas become practical in our lives.
For instance, all that we do in accordance with God's law must produce health; Christian Science teaches that the governing laws of health are not material but spiritual. Understanding God's power and fearing no other, we are poised to practice healing as Christ Jesus did so long ago.
(Incidentally, on the subject of swimming, it is probably easier to swim yourself than to explain how to do it. There's just no substitute for getting in the water and trying it! It's the same way with praying.)
Several months after I had begun making a study of Christian Science, I became ill with a sinus infection. I had already grown to realize that, while turning to God for physical healing does require trust, it is not asking for a miracle. Because I understood this, it was quite natural for me to call a Christian Science practitioner and ask him to pray for me. He assured me that God, divine Love, was supporting me as His own beloved child. He asked me to consider the Lord's Prayer, thinking about what each line was saying. Just as my mother's understanding of swimming had helped me discover the buoyancy of the water, the practitioner's understanding of God's love for me led me to glimpse something I had never seen before; I realized that I could never be away from God's care. I found I was free from the fear and confusion I'd been feeling. The symptoms of a sinus infection evaporated like an early morning fog.
Since that day several years ago, I've had no hesitancy about trusting the law of God in any situation. I love the fact that this law can be understood and obeyed, here and now, and that in this way we can experience God's healing power.
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him.
Deuteronomy 32:11, 12