Have you ever seen a two-ton elephant walking resignedly in a small circle, constrained only by a thin stick and flimsy rope tied to its ankle – and wondered why the elephant didn't just walk off?
One elephant-training technique is to fasten a heavy manacle and chain to its leg, securing the other end of the chain to a stake driven deep into the ground. When the baby elephant tries to walk, it can't move beyond the length of the chain.
The elephant becomes so used to this limitation that it stops resisting and remains within its tether, convinced that it cannot escape.
Eventually, it's restrained by only a thin wooden stake and light rope. Once the elephant has been conditioned to this limited mobility, it remains convinced of its captivity. Its impressions about the strength of the rope and wooden stake – not the rope and stake themselves – keep it imprisoned.
In some ways people have also been conditioned to accept views of health and well-being that imprison them with illness, disease, and limited mobility.
"Chained" to ever-increasing information about diseases, matter-based causes, incurability, and myriad treatments, people unwittingly are conditioned to have seasonal colds and flu; aching joints; vision, hearing, and memory loss when they reach senior years; and other health issues.
Yet, what if those "chains" called disease and deterioration aren't as solid and powerful as we think? What if they're actually as powerless to control us as a light rope is to restrain an elephant? It's one thing truly to be held captive. It's another thing to believe you're imprisoned when actually you're free.
If it's possible that we're not actually restrained by health conditions but just think we are, how can we break free? Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). And the truth he was referring to goes far beyond any human opinion of what is true. This truth has its basis in God, divine Spirit. God knows each of us, not as mortals susceptible to adverse health conditions, but as His children, made in His likeness to be all good. And the way that God knows and sees us never changes. We are forever good, perfect, whole. Our oneness with God makes this so. God is permanently intact and perfect, never subject to disease or injury. And as God's expression, each of us represents this perfect nature of God. This truth can never be obliterated.
In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy explained: "The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love. What is this supposed power, which opposes itself to God?... Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free" (pp. 224-225).
So, here's a great fact: It's impossible to realize freedom and believe in captivity at the same time – it's one or the other. If the elephant realized the powerlessness of the rope and stake, it would walk away. In the same way, we can realize the truth that nothing can keep us captive – and that nothing ever will. No health condition can chain us. God has made us free, and there are no limits to health and well-being.
I've proved this for myself. When I was growing up, one of my feet had developed incorrectly and was painful. Year after year, my activities were limited. In prayer one evening, I listened to God. The message I heard in my heart was, "You have always been My cherished, perfect, spiritual child." The condition I'd thought was binding me had no power, because God's love is the only power. I accepted this realization unreservedly. The "chains" fell away. I was free – free to run and play and work. My foot was healed completely.
Whatever health condition may appear to limit your life, don't be fooled. You can move forward because you know the truth that God has already made you free.