The chaos around me felt overwhelming.
It all started with the decision to renovate part of our house. A short time later I became ill, and needed a respite from the noise and dust of the workers. I ended up in the guest room on our lower level.
Then some unusual weather – heavy snowfall, a freeze, and a rainstorm – brought water seeping inexorably under the outside wall. My husband moved all the furniture, including my bed, into the middle of the room. Books were jammed haphazardly with other paraphernalia into a built-in bookcase directly across from my bed. And still the water came in.
The period of my illness had been lightened by flashes of inspiration and spiritual clarity. I was committed to treating my condition through prayer, with the regular assistance of a Christian Science practitioner. I'd made good headway in overcoming both the fear and the symptoms of the illness.
But the disorder in my downstairs haven was getting to me, and it was hard to pray. The Bible phrase "the enemy shall come in like a flood" resounded through my thinking (Isa. 59:19). I longed to experience the order I knew to be central to God's creation.
Over the years, my study of Christian Science had shown me that a yearning for good opens our thought to God's presence and power. In her chapter on "Prayer" in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy answered the question "Are we benefited by praying?" with this assertion: "Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void" (p. 2).
My longing for a spiritual sense of order was this kind of prayer. It shifted my focus on mortal limitations to an awareness of elements of divine reality, such as harmony, dependability, and comfort.
So it wasn't surprising when the assurance settled firmly into my consciousness, "Order isn't out there. It's within you."
Immediately the truth of that statement took root in my thought. It echoed Christ Jesus' teaching, "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). I understood this to mean that God's allness is here and now – that as His child, I am the direct recipient, the expression, of His goodness. Every good quality is part of my being, permanently placed and maintained by divine law. There is no other reality.
Two changes took place on the heels of this realization. One, the chaotic scene before my eyes became a nonissue to me. Two, the water began to recede, and the room was soon back to normal.
A while later, my husband needed to travel out of town. A friend who was a home aide came to stay with me. Her first words on entering our home were of amazement at the peace she felt, even as the renovations and my recuperation continued. As I look back, it's clear that from that time on, I made steady progress until my full healing was accomplished.
Learning about the order that I include within awakened me to the infinite good planted in each of us. When we're conscious of our inherent goodness, we're less impressed by the opposite picture presented by matter or mortal sense. We naturally stop reacting to it. As a material take on reality falls away, we begin to realize Jesus' promise of heaven within.
Mrs. Eddy described that promise this way: "Our great Teacher hath said: 'Behold, the kingdom of God is within you' – within man's spiritual understanding of all the divine modes, means, forms, expression, and manifestation of goodness and happiness" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 267).
My answered prayer that day was an impetus to the complete healing. Even better, it taught me to make a habit of looking beyond the evidence of the material senses to the glowing reality of the kingdom of God right where I am – even in a waterlogged basement.