Reprinted from the June 2006 issue of The Christian Science Journal.
I became acquainted with Christian Science when I’d had enough of going to church. I felt that even though I prayed, God didn’t give me any answers. I told myself that I was going to pray to God for the last time. I went into my room, and I addressed God the way one would address a man.
I said, “If in five days you don’t respond, it’s finished.” I think I had asked for shoes or a shirt. I said, “I’ll stop praying, and I’m going to govern my own life because there clearly isn’t any God.”
After I prayed, I got up to leave the room, but I thought to turn around. I saw a Bible, which a cousin had left on a table. It was the Jerusalem Bible. I decided to open it for the last time, and I saw the book of the prophetess Judith, which isn’t included in the Louis Segond Bible [French-language Bible].
I told myself, “Well, I’ll just read the story.” As I read the account, I realized that the people of Israel had done the same thing I was doing. When they were surrounded by the Assyrians, they had told God that if He didn’t send them rain in exactly five days, they would let the enemy come in and destroy the temple.
That really struck me, and I suddenly felt that there was a presence with me—that God was there.
During the next five days, it’s not as if I received what I had requested, but a friend gave me a book that introduced me for the first time to the idea that prayer follows certain rules. The book was based on Bible verses that said that one can move mountains with faith. I began to pray from that basis, and it seemed I received some results. But I wasn’t able to understand the concepts very well.
It was during this questioning period, when I was constantly talking to friends about this subject, that a Christian Scientist gave some French-language copies of The Herald of Christian Science to my friends, saying, “When you finish reading them, give them to Joseph, your friend who’s asking a lot of questions.”
This was the knowledge for which I was searching.
When I read a Herald for the first time, I told myself that these people must have the knowledge for which I was searching. But I didn’t know how to find that knowledge. I saw that they recommended a book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which could be ordered from Boston. I prayed and wondered how I could get the book.
Then one month later I met a person who had a Christian Science pamphlet. I was immediately attracted to it. I asked this person where he’d gotten the pamphlet, and he told me about the Christian Science Reading Room in our city.
When I got there, I found ten copies of Science and Health on display. That’s how I first became acquainted with Christian Science and Science and Health.
I asked the person working there what he thought was essential in this book. He showed me page 259, where it says that there is one perfect God, and that man, made in His image, is perfect. This passage helped me later when I suffered from malaria.
At the beginning, when I started reading Science and Health, I experienced small healings. For instance, when I had headaches, I would tell myself, “I can try to apply what I’ve read in this book to see if I’ll get results.”
I pray from the basis that I am God’s image.
Since childhood, I had suffered a lot with headaches. But now, with Christian Science, when I had a headache, instead of taking an aspirin, I would pray from the basis that there is a perfect God and that I’m His image, and that I do not have a mind that’s separate from God. Therefore, in order for me to have a headache, it would be necessary for God to have a headache first.
Whenever I felt ill, when I prayed like this, the illness or pain would disappear. But I would often ask myself, “If I have an illness that’s a lot more serious than a headache, will I be able to hold on to what I’ve read in Science and Health?” Two years later, 1993, I was to find out.
I had the symptoms of malaria, with terrible pains in my spine, and headaches. I had to accompany my nephews to the doctor, because they were also experiencing the same symptoms. After the medical examination, they were told they had malaria. Since I had the same symptoms, I asked the nurse to examine me, and they found that I had trophozoites in my blood, which meant I had malaria.
I told myself, “Oh my goodness. This is a really serious disease.” I was used to seeing people have quinine injected into their muscles to be healed of malaria.
I told myself, “On one hand, I’m working from a new basis, but from a medical standpoint, if I don’t take care of this illness with medical remedies, this means death for me. Maybe I should go see someone so that in case I die, they will be able to testify that I had placed my trust in Christian Science and that it hadn’t worked.”
I went to see a friend who was a Christian Scientist. I was showing all the symptoms of malaria. He promised his support in prayer. When I got home, I found that my cousin (who lived with me) had purchased the quinine injections that had been prescribed for me, but I threw them all behind a closet.
I read Science and Health to find comfort and peace.
The first thing I told myself was that I would review all the passages I had underlined in Science and Health so I could be comforted and find peace. That’s what I did during the first few days. But on the fourth day, I felt terrible. It was the turning point. I had atrocious pains and, still worse, a relative came to visit me to tell me that a cousin who had the same illness, and who had been hospitalized, had just passed on.
I almost panicked, but I had a deep-down trust in my understanding of Christian Science, so I didn’t panic. This was on Thursday. The symptoms were at their worst. I couldn’t even stand up to get Science and Health to read, but I told myself that I would apply what I understood, no matter what happened.
While lying in bed, I began by asking myself who was in the process of suffering at that moment. Based on Science and Health, I began to answer, I am a spiritual being made in God’s image. So if I’m not a material, mortal being, then it’s not me suffering on this bed. Since I’m the image of God, that can’t be me. For me to suffer, it would be necessary for God to suffer first. Therefore I’m not a mortal who’s on his bed in the process of suffering. I’m the image of God.
Everything stopped all at once. The headache stopped. It was all over. I got up. It was two o’clock in the morning, and I got up to nurse my nephews, who were still ill and who continued under medical treatment.
My neighbors were surprised to see me out fetching water.
When I got up that next morning, I carried a large bucket to wash myself, because we fetched water from a faucet. We were tenants in a home where there were a lot of people, and they were surprised to see that the frail person who had been on the couch yesterday could carry a big bucket today. I could hear them questioning among themselves.
This healing took place about ten years ago, and no symptoms have ever returned. After the healing, it was so astonishing for people that my friends said, “Listen, maybe it’s the type of psychological healing where the germs are still there. Are you really sure? You need to be examined.”
At their insistence, we went to an infirmary, and they told the orderly that they had come with a friend who was ill and they wanted a confirmation that he was healed. They asked to test me for malaria. I gave blood, and the orderly told us to come back 30 minutes later.
When we came back he told us to take another 30 minutes. When we came back again, he said that he didn’t understand.
“There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s well.”
“You tell me he’s sick, but the exam doesn’t show anything. There’s nothing there. All that I would maybe recommend is that he take a strong dose of some medication that I’ll give you, but I’m telling you, there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s well.”
I told my friends, “You see, it’s not psychological. There are no more trophozoites in my blood.”
In our country, malaria is an illness that seems to be everywhere. I feel completely disengaged from that perspective, completely above it. I think that if I hadn’t become acquainted with Christian Science I would be like the people who even today consider malaria to be like a ghost.
What Christian Science has done for me is extraordinary. It has elevated me to a view of this illness that is not what I had before. This and all disease are no longer scary to me. My relationship with God has allowed me to completely disengage myself from that fear.
Joseph Baleka lives in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.
Perfect God and perfect man:
Science and Health:
King James Bible: