A tag team of herons kept pace with us throughout the trip.
I had paddled an incredibly beautiful stretch of the Wisconsin River recently. The day was gorgeous, the wildlife abundant, and my new boat (my friend's) was light and responsive. But that night, my arms hurt.....alot. So much so that I couldn't even move without feeling pain.
What happened next was simple and effective. And I hope to explain it so that it helps others pray in a way that not ony helps alleviate the pain, but gives a sense of the dominion that God has given us over these kinds of situations.
As I paced the floor, I felt I couldn't even think to pray. But then I thought of something a Sunday School teacher once shared with me: "God is closer to you than your very breath." That's pretty close.
In fact, God and I are inseparable, indivisible. This intrigued me. I kept on with this reasoning. Right where the pain seemed so very real, there was the thought of God. It was as if God wedged into my thought. I listened for ideas from God. As I listened, I quieted my own preoccupation with the pain. I realized that there was a new conversation going on and this conversation spoke about harmony. It reminded me that I was God's own child, made in Her image and likeness.
I was able to separate myself mentally from the pain as I thought about God. Then it made sense to me that this pain was not about me at all. Gone was the blaming that I had been doing for not working out more, or for agreeing to do the more difficult stretches on a windy day. I was made in God's image and likeness, and God was larger than any pain. I was gaining an image of how God must know me: whole, strong, capable - in Her image and likeness. I could see that pain was no part of me. I understood what is said in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "God, the divine Principle of man, and man in God's likeness are inseparable, harmonious, and eternal." (p. 336)
First there was the pain, but when I let the thought about God wedge into my thinking, I got some traction. I kept listening until the only thing I really heard was God. I could feel the muscles relax. And although I still felt the pain, I was no longer afraid. Going further, I saw myself as not being governed under material law, but under divine law. Within moments, I was able to go to sleep. The next day, I was able to use my arms normally, until all pain was gone.
I really experienced what a special hymn* sings:
I feel Thy touch, eternal Love,
And all is well again:
The thought of Thee is mightier far
Than sin and pain and sorrow are.
I was so grateful - not just because the pain had gone, but because I was able to see that pain has no place or permanence. How grateful I am to know that we don't need to be manacled by pain, but that there is an answer through prayer!
*Hymn 134 of the Christian Science Hymnal
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016