Here is a recent demonstration of healing that served as a reminder to me about two things. First, it illustrated how important testimonies are in bolstering our confidence to do healing work. And second, it showed the necessity of being mentally prepared to immediately challenge what at first may seem to be the supposedly irrefutable facts of an accident.
Several weeks ago at a Wednesday evening testimony meeting, a member told of a beautiful and quick healing of a burned hand that she experienced while busily preparing dinner for her family and tending to her one and a half year-old son. She described how, after grabbing the sides of a hot pot, she immediately gave herself a treatment to know that the seeming accident had no power because God did not make accidents. She went on with her work, refused to look at her hand, and did not give in to any sense of pain. She further explained how she mentally handled the claim that the senses could try to assert their legitimacy by masquerading as a sense of guilt for supposedly being careless around a hot stove. She said the pain stopped quickly. She described how she continued her prayerful work about her hand over the next day or so, all the while refusing to inspect the hand. Days later, during normal washing, she noticed that there was no mark on her hand.
It was a well-told testimony and it was encouraging to everyone who was at the meeting that night.
Several days later while I was out at a restaurant I grabbed a candleholder to move it out of the way when our dinner plates were brought to the table. As it turned out, the thin metal top of the candleholder was incredibly hot and I instantly felt a sharp, intense burning pain from one of my fingers. I immediately silently affirmed to myself, “I am not hurt!” And I knew that the rest of that treatment (paraphrased from Science and Health, p. 397) required that I “understand the reason why.” (I affirmed that God does not create accidents or burned fingers. I held firmly to the idea that whatever pain I thought I was feeling was not part of God’s creation and therefore could not be part of my experience. I also resolved not to look at the finger.)
In quick succession several thoughts tried to get my attention: “how long do you think you can keep up this ‘denial’ business?” and, “there’s a butter plate, and a glass of ice water …” Those contrary thoughts actually served to encourage me to feel that I was on the right track in not accepting the sense of pain, or even to being tempted to make use of mildly ameliorative partial physical remedies. And then the pain in my finger abruptly stopped. A sense of burning pain was gone in less than two minutes from the time I’d picked up the candleholder.
I am chagrinned to admit that I was surprised at how fast the pain stopped. It’s been a while since I’d prayed with that sort of complete confidence and seen such immediate results. Of course I was grateful and gave silent thanks to God. But I didn’t stop treating myself. The sense of pain had yielded; however even without looking I could feel that there was significant blistering on the finger. It was easy to regard that as a last, lingering desperate attempt for the claim of an accident to cling to. When I got home I looked up the complete citations for the passages from Science and Health, by Mrs. Eddy that had come to me in the restaurant (397:12-22 & 161:2-5). They were the same passages that the testifier mentioned on previous Wednesday night. Even the blistering was quickly resolved in a day or so, with no need for draining or a bandage. In all that time I had full use of the finger, even for typing, with no pain or unusual sensitivity.
The sense of alertness that impelled me to quickly do prayerful work about the burned finger was definitely triggered by hearing the testimony from the previous Wednesday. I was very grateful to be able to give my own testimony at the next week’s testimony meeting. Interestingly, I was not alone that evening in giving a testimony about healing of a burn. Another member gave a similar example of a fast healing after picking up a hot iron that week. We both credited the previous week’s testimony for prompting us to do immediate prayerful work.
Testimonies have also played an important part in my work as a Sunday School teacher. I end each class by reading a testimony from either the Fruitage chapter in Science and Health, or from the “Letters from those Healed” chapter in Miscellaneous Writings. Whenever possible I try to include some historical background about who the writers were, to show that they were real people who lived in real places. It’s clear too that the testifiers aren’t “sugar-coating” their experiences. Often they are bluntly honest in saying that the healing didn’t happen right away, or even that the physical symptoms initially seemed to grow worse as they began their Christian Science treatments. The lesson of being persistent has been very influential in showing how we can apply what we learn and not be discouraged.
The healing above was not a life-threatening situation, but it has been a very instructive example to me of how Christian Science can quickly handle pain. It is also useful for helping me to more regularly refute nagging suggestions that I am not ready to do more healing work.