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Make your own Joseph’s purity that enabled him to “see God” (cit. B6/Matt. 5:8) and
to not need to “pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence”
(cit. S8/63:8)

 

Warren Huff’s Acute Abdominal Pain and Demanding Final Exams Overcome Through Prayer & Joseph’s Example

One of many landmark healings in Christian Science occurred when I was a freshman at Princeton University. Somehow all fifteen hours of my five three-hour finals were scheduled for the first two days of exam week.  On top of that, due to daily football practice and working multiple jobs, I had fallen behind on heavy reading assignments in a couple of the courses. So, on the Saturday morning before these finals, I felt pressured and inadequate. I asked myself, “How am I ever going to be ready to read, study and prepare for these exams with no real study time between them?”

Just as I started to ponder my seemingly impossible situation, a dull pain in my right side that I’d been aware of overnight suddenly became very sharp and would not go away. A roommate, whose dad was a doctor, suggested that it looked like my appendix had burst and that I was having an appendicitis attack. I chose to handle this suggestion with prayer, just as I’d had done successfully to meet many other challenges — from making hard decisions to experiencing very quick healings of broken bones, severe wounds, sprained ankles, torn cartilage, and so forth. When this very aggressive problem refused to yield quickly to my own prayers, I struggled to get to the privacy of a pay phone booth on campus to call a Christian Science Practitioner for help (this was long before cell phones).  I was seeking the uniquely powerful and prayerful support known as a Christian Science treatment, given with professional warmth and principled love.  On this occasion, though, none of the practitioners I knew from Christian Science summer camp or from church answered their phones, and no human help seemed to be readily available.  So, I hobbled—still doubled over in pain— to a nearby Christian Science Reading Room on Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey.  The Reading Room’s “quiet precincts” were a perfect place to reach out directly to God for angel messages and my healing.

For several hours that Saturday, I was the only visitor to the private study area in the back of the Reading Room. That sacred privacy enabled me to feel free enough to stretch out on the floor whenever sitting wasn’t comfortable.  Whenever I physically struggled, I spiritually snuggled up to apply passages that I felt the Comforter was indelibly teaching me from that week’s Christian Science Bible lesson. I kept coming back to an uplifting assurance in a sentence in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, which reads, “… Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world and begins to unfold its wings for heaven.”  (SH 57) I saw clearly that as long as my heart was sighing (moaning, groaning, complaining…) over the world—over exam-based concerns, time-based pressures and body-based pains— it could not begin “to unfold its wings for heaven” and healing. 

Through prayer, I began to “unfold the wings of my heart for heaven” by turning away from my worldly worries and toward the infinite possibilities of being at one with all-knowing, divine Mind.  Another insight I found in the Bible Lesson was the account of Joseph’s divine intuition that enabled him to interpret the humanly unknowable dream of Pharaoh (Genesis 41:1-57). I reasoned that his example showed me that I too could have direct insight from divine Mind.  I felt that God was telling me that Joseph’s talent was my talent too, and that God would give me the healing insights I needed for both physical healing and to know what I needed to study and what to write on my upcoming exams. I loved that Joseph’s explanation of how he knew the meaning of the dream, telling Pharaoh, “it is not in me: God shall give … an answer of peace.” (Genesis 41:16).  Joseph’s words helped me feel more confidence and peaceful about my upcoming exams.

I also distinctly remember finding relief in affirming for myself, “When man is governed by God, the ever-present Mind who understands all things, man knows that with God all things are possible.” (SH 180:25)

That private Reading Room study area also gave me a perfect place sing some favorite hymns. I knew by heart all of Mary Baker Eddy’s hymns from years of singing them in Sunday School, plus scores of others.  This may seem like an unconventional way to study for exams, but, in hindsight, I was being forced to prioritize feeling my one-ness with God by cherishing each word of every hymn that came to me.  This turned out to be the best possible exam preparation that I’ve ever had.

I’ll always remember concluding my hymn singing by cherishing each word of “Christ My Refuge,” a poem and hymn by Mary Baker Eddy. My tears of pain changed to tears of joy!  The pain lifted as I let my heart sing the following words, O’er waiting harps strings of the mind, there sweeps a strain, Low, sad, and sweet, whose measures bind the power of painAnd wake a white-winged angel throng of thoughts illumed By faith, and breathed in raptured song, With love perfumed. Then His unveiled, sweet mercies show Life’s burden’s light. I kiss the cross, and wake to know A world more bright… I see Christ walk and come to me and tenderly divinely talk. Thus Truth engrounds me on the rock whereto God leadeth me. (Christian Science Hymnal #254)

With renewed freedom, I was inspired to not just walk, but to run back to my Dodd Hall dorm room, to eat normally and to prepare with peaceful inspiration Saturday night and Sunday for my first four final exams (12-hours worth) on Monday and Tuesday morning. I felt divinely directed toward just what I needed to review and felt great and full of gratitude to God about my first four exams.

However, when I opened the fifth exam on Tuesday afternoon, my heart fell as I read all the exam questions which asked me to compare and contrast several books that I had intended to read over the weekend but did not because of the healing time I needed to spend in the Reading Room.  I was seriously tempted to just go up to the exam proctor and turn in the exam with a note that I’d had a health challenge, was unable to adequately prepare for the exam, and to ask to take the course on a Pass-Fail basis so that my good work going into the final could at least get me a “Pass” on my transcript for this Sociology course.

Then, I remembered the citations from the Christian Science Bible Lesson that I’d mined in the Reading Room as cherished gems to apply to myself.  I recalled the account of Joseph humbly knowing it was not in him, but in God to give the right answer. (Genesis 41:1-57)

As I stood up from my desk with the intention to humanly give up, rather than try to write about books that I hadn’t even read, an angel message stopped me, saying “I am the same Mind that made this test and that wrote every book and I am with you to take this test and tell you everything you need to know.”  I heard these words as a direct message from God.  I gained confidence from this angel message and from remembering other ideas from the Bible lesson I’d cherished and made my own during my healing time of study in the Reading Room.

They included these passages from Science and Health:
“It is the prerogative of the ever-present, divine Mind, and of thought in rapport with this Mind, to know the past, the present, and the future. Acquaintance with the Science of being enables us to commune more largely with the divine Mind… to be divinely inspired, yea, to reach the range of fetterless Mind.” (84:11-18)

“A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity.(SH 128:14)

“Spirit imparts the understanding uplifts consciousness and leads… This understanding is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments, it is the reality of all things brought to light.” (SH, 505:16, 26-28)

I sat back down at my desk with a joyous and confident motive to glorify God by being a clear transparency to let God’s goodness shine through me.  I strove to see myself as a “scribe under orders.”  I was determined not to try to make up myself what I humanly didn’t know, but rather to “welcome” divine Mind’s ideas.  Ideas flowed and I wrote them down effortlessly. At the end of the three hours, I handed in the exam with a sense of inspired joy.  And the next day I found out that my grade in the course actually improved!  I was grateful and gave all glory to God alone.  I had demonstrated that what cannot God do for me when I, like Joseph, know that “it is not in me. God shall give (me every) … answer” that I need, and I know it!  This demonstration helped realized that every time we have no clue humanly how to answer any question or problem, we can turn to divine Mind for answers. All we ever need do is be “Looking unto (Christ) Jesus the author and finisher”! (Heb. 12:2)

I have turned to this landmark healing for years as a reminder that we can always lean on God for refuge and strength, as a “very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

[This is being submitted to the Christian Science Publishing Society.]

 

 

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