QUESTION: Why is it that if I’m having an ongoing problem, other Christian Scientists’ first assumption is that I must not be studying the Bible and Science and Health enough? Are healings that take time somehow my fault, or the result of not enough study?
- time4thinkers question of the week – see link at end of post
Inge Schmidt says: So many of us can relate to the humbling task of praying about an ongoing problem. The countless hours of prayer and study. The yearning to know, “When will I be healed?” And, “What else do I need to know?” To feel that one’s efforts are being questioned or criticized by anyone is difficult. But by a fellow Christian Scientist? It can be deeply discouraging. When faced with these situations myself, I’ve found Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane, shortly before his crucifixion, to be an important example.
Knowing he was about to face the greatest trial of his human experience, Jesus turned to his disciples for support as he prayed. Instead, they fell asleep. When you read his words, “What, could you not watch with me one hour?” the disappointment is palpable. 1 Yet I have to think that dark night in Gethsemane must have been one of Jesus’ most profound moments of prayer. When even his closest friends had let him down, he had no choice but to turn to God more wholeheartedly than ever before. In doing so, he found the understanding and strength that enabled him to overcome the entire experience.
When feeling betrayed or let down by a friend, it can be difficult to get caught up in mentally replaying the event and justifying one’s feelings. While all of these sentiments are understandable, consider this: What if Jesus had spent his night in Gethsemane frustrated and discouraged by his disciples’ shortcomings? Would he have found the inspiration he needed to go through the crucifixion and be raised from the dead?
Ongoing problems challenge us to be more vigilant in our willingness to look beyond the apparent circumstances to perceive what is spiritually true. There are any number of things that would try and draw us away from that faithfulness. Things like pain, fear, or graphic physical symptoms. Or even unwarranted judgment—whether real or perceived—from a fellow Christian Scientist. As we, too, are alert to these attempted distractions, and resist their pull, we find our dominion over the whole situation. These spiritual lessons are important steps in the larger healing.
When praying about a long-term problem, perhaps the greatest challenge is to stop counting the steps along the way: how many hours in prayer, how many treatments given, how many days since the problem first presented itself. Like judgment, these distractions would also steer us off-course. Instead, as we follow Jesus’ example, and turn completely away from measuring the magnitude of the problem, we will find the now-ness of peace, joy, and strength. Although it’s not always easy, as we yield to Truth—thought by thought—even our Gethsemane-like moments will be exalted, and ultimately, fully redeemed.
Rob Scott Says: 18th March 2016
There is a beautiful, old church nearby that I visit everyday in Oaxaca, Mexico. It has a large painting hanging in the church of Jesus in the Garden on Gethsemane. He is on his knees praying while his disciples are sleeping. There is an angel in the top corner of the painting signifying Hope. I can’t imagine him knowing his most desperate hour of need was approaching.
Regardless of whatever problem I have that day it goes away when I look at that beautiful, painting because if Jesus made it through and showed us the way then I can find the strength too. It makes me feel no problem is too big.
Christian Science saved me from suicide during these past few years when I was overwhelmed with life’s so-called problems. It was a light when all other lights went out. I just never let go of it. I am now helping others who also feel overwhelmed. Perhaps some clues as to what helped me can be seen in the excerpt below from JSH Online.
Perhaps this was an opportunity to make up for my error of attempting suicide in college now that I have on my CS armor.
I remember reading a comment from a person who left Christian Science. He stated he hasn’t felt safe since.
Dr. Tutt, C.S.B., asked if you were to fall away where would you fall away to?
Recently a student of Christian Science made some discouraging statements to me regarding not facing a so-called problem and asked why I am so calm in the storm.
He also questioned my time praying everyday. He not only doesn’t read my daily blog perhaps he doesn’t understand it as well. My additional reading of the lesson and prayer is done privately. I FEEL a profound sense of peace from it.
The Bible Story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den best represents the lesson I am trying to articulate here and ties in with Jesus in the Garden on Gethsemane.
Thus I wanted to share this excerpt referenced ablove from JSH Online:
There is some debate to actually how long Daniel was in the den of lions.
“Still Waters” – From the May 1929 issue of The Christian Science Journal
We cannot demonstrate the allness of God by evading the problem that confronts us, by fleeing before the frightening sense-evidence it may present, or by running around in circles, seeking the answer in a change of material conditions. There is no record that Daniel did any of these things when he was told he was to spend the night with hungry lions. We are prone to think that Daniel’s demonstration was his coming out of the den the next morning, when, in fact, the real test was his ability to endure through the long night in that situation; to remain there quietly and trustingly, holding his peace, keeping his mental stillness intact, his sense of joy active, in spite of the presence of the lions. One could easily walk out of a den of lions were the way open; but to be calm in such a test one would need to find the “still waters” of Spirit, to quiet the temptation to give way to turbulent, fearful thinking.
So it is in any demonstration of the truth in Christian Science regarding a claim of sickness, sin, poverty, or even death. We do not find our answer to prayer merely in a change of material evidence, in walking out of a den of lions, but in the spiritual ability to know the perfect idea of God right where we are, in spite of the material evidence.
Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL mankind.
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