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From Hawksbill To Chester Gap

ON a clear day I can take a few steps from where I am writing and see a stretch of the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains from Hawksbill to Chester Gap. It is a beautiful sight. I've enjoyed many hours of hiking along that forty miles of ridge. Some days, though, a mist or a rainstorm hides the ridge. But I have seen it and visited it so many times that I know it is there, even if it is obscured in the clouds. And if I needed more concrete reassurance, I could very quickly travel by automobile and foot to sta nd right on top of it.

The realization that I know the mountains are always there and that nothing can cloud my vision of what they look like has helped me often in troubled times. Last summer my wife and I were building a new house. There was much to be done and the days were quite full. One morning I woke listless and feverish. I am accustomed to turning to God in prayer to heal physical illness and did so that morning. The symptoms eased but did not completely disappear. That day I could see all the way from Hawksbill to Ch ester Gap from where I was studying and praying, and the analogy of the mist covering the ridge came to mind.

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From previous healings, I knew that this condition could be healed through prayer. In my prayer I was searching to understand myself better as man created in God's likeness. I was seeing, to a degree, that beyond the obscuring mist of illness, man--my genuine identity--is real, perfect, spiritual. This meant that I could not be a sick mortal struggling to be free of a fever and listlessness. In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes, ``The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the ch ildren of God." Certainly God would not be giving His children illness, but rather harmony, balance, and all good. Energy and initiative come from God, not listlessness.

After reasoning a while like this, I was improved but not completely well. It was time for me to dig deeper and confirm the solidity of the basic spiritual truths that constituted my prayer. I opened my Bible and my copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy to strengthen my grasp of man's perfect being and the reality of God's healing power on earth. The healings of Christ Jesus are invaluable to me at such times. I was also strengthened by reading in Science and Health whe re the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science writes, ``Man is the expression of God's being." Mrs. Eddy points out elsewhere in her book: ``God's being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss." These statements reinforced my confidence in the truths on which my prayers were based. It was like revisiting the place where I had originally learned or seen what was real about God's creation.

As I continued to pray, I also sought to correct the belief that man as God's child could ever be overworked, ever be exposed to damaging elements, catch any disease. By that afternoon I felt much better, and the next day was able to carry a full load.

The analogy of the mist on the Blue Ridge and the comfort of inspiring words are helpful to me in meeting adversity. But I know that it is God who heals. Getting behind the words I read--to glimpse the power in His presence that the original writers of the words experienced--enables me to feel that same power and be healed. We each can do this when we understand the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of God; when we recognize that sin and sickness cannot have any hold on us, because, as the Bible

puts it, the Spirit of God bears ``witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

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