Aboard a friend's 27-foot boat, I had my first lesson in sailing. When we were safely out into the sound, I was put in charge of the tiller.
I was inclined to use the principles involved in steering a car to guide the sailboat. Quickly, I found out they do not apply; to turn a boat to the right, you push the tiller left, and so forth. It took concentration to adjust my practices and keep us on course.
I find that to be a helpful metaphor for the kind of adjustments I've needed to make in my outlook, in learning how to care for myself and my family according to spiritual rules.
The Bible says we are made in God's very likeness. Because God is not physical, this fact requires an adjustment in our view of ourselves. Because God is Spirit, we - God's children - are spiritual. Adopting this spiritual viewpoint takes effort. But it can bring healing.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, devoted the majority of her life to this discovery that in truth we are the spiritual sons and daughters of God. That although we may think of ourselves just as material bodies with different problems, adjusting our viewpoint to acknowledge our relationship to God can make a profound difference.
This is what I did when our little daughter was injured in an accident. She fell off her riding toy, hitting her mouth on the hard pavement of the driveway.
As I ran to pick her up, an idea came to me that was the result of learning about the spiritual identity every man, woman, and child has. It is expressed in these words: "Never born and never dying, it were impossible for man, under the government of God in eternal Science, to fall from his high estate" (Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 258).
While I certainly didn't think my daughter was dying, what this meant to me was that we are always with God - forever - and that there is never a moment when God is not taking care of each of us. To believe we or someone else could be injured, we would first have to agree that God had left us out of His intelligent care for a moment. And since God is infinite, this is impossible!
God is also omnipotent Love. She, He, is always present. In caring for our daughter, I "adjusted" my thinking from a material point of view (where God could be absent and she could be injured) to a higher, more spiritual point of view (where God is never absent, and she was safe and whole). Thinking along these lines constitutes a type of prayer. And prayer brings healing.
Our daughter's mouth, which had been swollen, healed quickly. But there was another problem. She woke up the next morning with a black front tooth.
My love for our daughter led me to turn to divine Love and again to affirm in prayer that because God is never absent, she had never been out of His care. Within a day or two, that front tooth had turned white (even though a dentist told me that wouldn't happen). We never even could tell after that which of her front teeth had been injured.
We always have a right to pray to God for healing. It is because God is incorporeal that we can find the freedom of being God's likeness, which includes the healing of physical injuries and illness. If we were to think of God as limited in any way, we might think He couldn't care for everyone at every moment. But understanding that God is Spirit, Love that's always with us, breaks down any limitation of thought as to what prayer can do for us.
It was great to learn a little bit about sailing a boat. I learned that when you applied the right principles, it brought the right results. And I saw that this is true when it comes to learning about God. The Bible contains spiritual facts about our precious relationship to our creator. It has helped me provide for my family's needs. Steering a course by its instructions is what brought healing to our daughter.
We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:18
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society