The healing and transforming power of one spiritual idea - that's what I learned after reading an article that was published in this column, "Our bitter cup, our resurrection" (Apr. 5).
Here's what happened. I was profoundly moved by how the author was willing to learn the lessons God was teaching her and not run away or resist them. She described Jesus' example of faithfulness to God, and how, prior to the Crucifixion, he asked: "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" (John 18:11, New International Version). And Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: "The cup our Father hath given, shall we not drink it and learn the lessons He teaches?" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 67).
I prayed deeply with this idea of being more open to learning the lessons that God was teaching me. I yearned to follow God's direction in every part of my life. The next morning a situation that had been bothering me came to mind: I was afraid of my financial situation but had been ignoring the fear. At first I argued that I had already dealt with this issue, so why did I have to face it again? The answer was simple: Although I had made significant progress, I still needed to overcome that niggling fear of not having enough.
Then I remembered how much I had loved that one idea - being willing to learn the lessons God is teaching me. I knew that I was being given a perfect opportunity to put that idea into practice.
So I asked God what He wanted me to see. My direction was to read the Bible story of Moses when he had to overcome his fear of a snake.
God had been trying to convince Moses that he was the one to lead the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. But Moses was resisting God's direction because he was afraid that the people wouldn't believe that God had spoken to him. God asked Moses what he had in his hand, and Moses said that it was a staff.
"Throw it on the ground," God commanded. Moses obeyed. Then the staff became a snake. Moses was afraid and jumped back from the snake. But God said to him: " 'Reach out and grab it by the tail.' He reached out and grabbed it - and he was holding his staff again" (Ex. 4:1-4, Eugene Peterson, "The Message").
Then I knew what God was asking me to do: Face the fear about my finances head on, and don't run away. It wasn't easy at first, but I kept hearing that voice of Truth within my consciousness encouraging me, telling me that I wasn't alone but that God was giving me the courage that I needed to take my stand. So I forcefully denounced the fear and saw that it had no power or authority over me because God, my Father-Mother, is always providing everything I need. God's idea reassured me that I am always connected to Love, to God, and that keeps me safe every moment.
As I drew closer to divine Love, I felt Love's power, and the fear dissolved. Since then, I have felt a deeper confidence and trust in God's willingness and ability to care for me.
Often the human mind tells us that we don't have the inspiration or the right ideas that can change things for the better. But I have found that the willingness to take seriously the one spiritual idea that God is giving me has a healing effect. One idea - loved and obeyed - is often all that is needed. Instead of asking God for more inspiration, I am learning step by step to respond to what God is setting right in front of me.
Several years ago I had a mountain biking accident and injured my ribs. The pain was intense. I prayed to God for healing and turned to something Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony" (Science and Health, page 424).
I didn't feel as if I was getting anywhere. Feeling frustrated, I called a Christian Science practitioner, hoping for some new inspiration. But I didn't get anything new and different. She mentioned the same passage I had already been praying with. I admit I was disappointed, but I agreed to think more deeply about this idea.
This time it was different. I felt a new spirit of willingness to actually do, not just think about, what Mrs. Eddy was suggesting. Leaving "the mortal basis of belief and uniting with the one Mind" meant I needed to listen to and accept only what Mind was saying to me and not listen to any other thoughts that tried to legitimize the pain.
Mind reassured me that I have always been God's child and that I was never separated from God's love and care - even for a moment. I loved and wholeheartedly embraced these ideas. The result was that all of the pain dissolved. I was healed.
I'm grateful for the power of one idea.