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Rising above adversity

Today’s contributor shares how a friend overcame a life-threatening disease through an increasing spiritual conviction of God’s healing power.

When we’re facing adversity – whether in the form of injustice, resentment, lack, betrayal, or illness – we may feel that we’re completely on our own. I certainly have felt that way!

Yet at times like that I’ve found encouragement in the Bible’s book of Psalms, where it says, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You” (84:5, New King James Version). The “You” in that verse is God, whose love and goodness are without limit, always here and available to us. When we let the consciousness of this divine Love well up in us, we feel more cared for and confident. We come to see that the strength needed to succeed over adversity is actually always present because its source is God. This doesn’t mean the path is always easy, but step by step we can experience the power of these ideas to heal and uplift.

A friend of mine found this when she was diagnosed with a disease that threatened her life. For a while, she felt alone each day – alone with the symptoms. But she found herself praying with all her heart. Each day she asked God for an inspiring thought, and she would get one. She might discover such an idea as she studied the Bible or as she read the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded The Christian Science Monitor. Or sometimes inspiration would just come to her as she quietly prayed.

These were spiritual ideas she was glimpsing, reminding her of everyone’s inherent strength and wholeness as the spiritual creation of God, divine Spirit. All day long, no matter what she was doing, she would keep whatever idea that had come to mind close to her heart, pondering it, loving it, and loving God, too.

Mary Baker Eddy herself faced and overcame remarkable adversity through her understanding of Spirit’s infinite goodness. Her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” encourages readers: “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man” (p. 393).

Mrs. Eddy’s example for this was Christ Jesus, who understood better than anyone what it means to rise in the strength of God, enabling him to express that strength in healing others. Not just for a few, but for every single one of us, this strength is divinely bestowed. When we really hunger to know God as Spirit and ourselves as His completely spiritual creation, we find that divine strength naturally empowers and lifts us.

After a few weeks of praying with ideas like this, my friend could feel herself rising up, confident in God’s power. She came to know that she wasn’t alone, wasn’t simply a mortal facing the adversity of disease. Each day, as she turned to divine Spirit, her perspective was changed a little bit for the better. She realized more clearly that health and strength have their source in God and therefore can never run out. Ultimately, she was permanently healed and went into a career where she could be of great service to others.

Planes rise more quickly if they take off not with the wind, but against it. Similarly, by bravely turning and facing adverse winds, we can rise, and rise confidently, in the strength of Spirit. When we pray to see that we are at one with God as His spiritual expression, we see more clearly that adversity actually cannot thwart us – that divine energy and strength are ours to express in victory over adversity. This lifts us to love God and our fellow men and women more fully. We experience healing. And we find a more natural joy and a deeper peace.

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