Good Life

Clergy Column: Celia Nygard

Now that summer is here and many insects are busy, some people become afraid of being stung or bitten. Instead of being afraid, a different approach might be more effective.

When our children were young, we had a yard that required tending all the time. Early one summer day, I was in the back of the house weeding. Suddenly I was stung by several wasps. The pain was immense and my arms and legs immediately had numerous welts on them. I went a distance away to pray quietly. As a Christian Scientist, I’ve learned to turn to God quickly whenever I face a problem.

A phrase from Proverbs (26:2) occurred to me: “the curse causeless shall not come.” This certainly wasn’t a familiar proverb but I knew that it was a spiritual message intended to help me. The New International Version says, “the undeserved curse does not come to rest,” or the undeserved curse has no effect.

Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to spiritual messages whenever they occur. I looked at the area that I had been weeding. There was a stone embankment, and going in and out of an opening were many wasps. So the wasps had been defending what they considered to be a threat. I reasoned that this wasn’t a “curse causeless” and I was innocent.

When I realized this, most of my fear disappeared. I remembered also that I John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” I knew that I had to replace fear with love (perhaps not so easy with angry wasps). I stayed there until I felt completely calm and felt genuinely loving towards the wasps.

A sentence that I have prayed with before also occurred to me. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 514, “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible.” I reasoned that both the wasps and I were included in God’s creatures, we were moving in the harmony of God’s kingdom, and as such we couldn’t harm one another. Both the wasps and I could express God’s love.

I went into the house to wash up and saw that the swelling on my arms and legs had reduced considerably. After a short while, all signs that I had been stung so badly disappeared. No one else was stung that summer and after the weather cooled, the wasps moved themselves and we closed up the stone embankment.

Even though I had been stung, I could not really be harmed. God’s spiritual message was telling me that we can move in harmony with God’s creatures, loving and unafraid. The evidence of the stings disappeared when I replaced fear with love.