In the early 1900s, at age 16, my grandmother was living in a boarding house after relatives had thrown her out, just four years after she had become an orphan. It was there at the boarding house that she found Christian Science and learned about her relation to God as His beloved daughter. She also began to learn of the possibility of healing through prayer alone.
Christian Science had been discovered by Mary Baker Eddy a little earlier, in 1866. She learned that healing as Christ Jesus practiced is as possible today as it was in his time. Before offering her ideas to the world in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy spent close to 10 years proving that healing through prayer alone was not only possible, but also consistently provable when the truth about God and man is understood. As Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
This spiritual truth includes the understanding of man’s inseparability from an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God. The Bible says that it enabled Jesus to heal “every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). The purpose of his mission was not to simply show the world his own ability to heal in this way, but to show that everyone has access to that same healing power. The disciple John records these words of Jesus: “He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (John 14:12, Revised Standard Version).
When my grandmother had her own family, she cultivated in her children a love for and reliance on the truths found in Christian Science. Following in her footsteps, my mother did the same. So growing up, I learned to rely on “the healing power of Truth and Love” (Science and Health, p. 31), which are two other names for God. Rather than focusing on life in matter, or the body, we strove to learn more about the reality of spiritual existence, and of our true oneness with God, divine Spirit.
By the time I was old enough to realize there were other methods of healing that people relied on, I was so satisfied with the healing power of turning to the Word of God for answers, that I never considered other healing methods. It felt natural to my siblings and me to trust in God’s ever-presence and all-power.
One time, when my brother was 18 years old, he flipped the convertible he was driving, crushing all of his ribs, one of which protruded the skin. He was a champion tennis player at the high school, but this could have ended his participation in this sport. My mother told him he was old enough to decide for himself if he wanted to see a doctor or ask for a Christian Science practitioner to pray with him. Because he had successfully relied only on Christian Science his entire life, even though this was more serious than anything he had experienced, he chose to have the practitioner pray along with him.
As his sister, what I remember most about that incident was that I wasn’t afraid for him. Instead, I had confidence in God’s all-embracing love for humanity, which included my brother. What came to me is captured in two quotes from the Bible. In Ecclesiastes it says, “I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it” (3:14, RSV). And in the first chapter of Genesis, it says God gave man dominion over all the earth. This meant that my brother’s ability to express the freedom and dominion God gave him – including his ability and joy in playing tennis – could never, in reality, be taken from him. Within a month, he was back playing tennis – and winning!
Recent events have left many people with searching questions about life, desiring answers that are not just theoretical but practical. In her book “Unity of Good,” Mrs. Eddy writes about “the simple teaching and life of Jesus as the only true solution of the perplexing problem of human existence” (p. 9). This teaching is the Science of the Christ, and its provable healing power is available to all seekers of Truth.