This article is an excerpt from The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford. Sanford was a pioneer in the modern healing movement, and this book is life transforming. This story is a vivid explanation why we need to train our imaginations. Click the highlighted text to buy the book.
There is a story, told to me as truth, that so beautifully illustrates
God’s encircling protection that I shall relate it, although I cannot
prove its verity as I can prove the verity the other stories in this
book. (Since writing the above, a letter from England confirms this story.)
In the last World War there was an English woman whose
son was in aviation. This mother became greatly afflicted by a
recurrent nightmare. She dreamed that she was walking in a
meadow bordered by poplar trees and sloping toward a little
stream. It was a lush green meadow, dotted with daffodils. . . .
As she walked among them, she heard the sound of planes. She
looked up and saw them, an English plane and a German plane.
She watched a battle between them. The English plane fell, crashed
to the earth, and burst into flames. She ran up to it and dragged out
the charred body of her son.
Such was the nightmare, from which she would awaken drenched
with sweat and in agony of fear. Again and again she was
tormented with this dreadful dream, till all her waking thoughts
were heavy with the fear of it. At last, fearing that she would lose
her mind, she sought help from a psychiatrist.
“I will tell you what to do,” he said. “Think about the highest thing
you know. If you are a Christian, think about God.”
“I think I’m a Christian,” answered the woman.
“Then think about God. Think of Him as light and love and
￼protection. Then think of your son, and see him at his very happiest
￼and healthiest and best.”
￼￼The woman trained her thoughts moment by moment to follow this
￼pattern of thinking. So the light and the love of God became real to
￼her, and in that light and love she placed her son. As she so
￼reordered her thinking, the nightmare came to her less frequently
￼and with less of horror. Gradually her daytime fears decreased. She
￼noticed, moreover, a changed feeling toward her son. She had
￼always loved him, but now she loved him more than ever. She
￼forgot the little things in him that had worried her, and dwelt
￼joyfully upon his best and happiest characteristics. Finally she
￼ceased entirely to dream about the lush green meadow and the air-
￼planes, and put the whole matter behind her.
￼￼Some months later she was at a house party in the south of
￼England, and went for a walk in a meadow. Suddenly she looked
￼about her with a start of amazement. For it was the meadow of her
￼dream! There were the poplar trees and the little stream—and there
￼were daffodils in the grass, for it was spring. Almost immediately,
￼she heard the sound of planes. She looked up and saw them—an
￼English plane and a German plane! She watched a dog-fight. One
￼of the planes fell and crashed into the meadow. But it did not burst
￼into flames. Out of it stepped a young man, perfectly unharmed.
￼He ran up to her, his face radiant.
￼￼”Mother!” he cried. “The most wonderful thing has happened! I
￼knew I was falling, and I wasn’t a bit afraid, and on the way
￼down—something in me seemed to wake up—I just feel different!”
￼￼The reader may reject this story if he likes. I cannot prove it, any more than I can prove the chariots of fire about Elisha, the pillars
￼of cloud that led the Israelites across the wilderness, the vision of
￼Joseph that bade him take the young child and his mother and flee
into the land of Egypt. But I thank God that I am able to believe all
￼these beautiful and thrilling stories of a God who gives His angels
￼charge over us, to keep us in all our ways.
￼￼But one thing in this story is plain and clear to me: the mother
￼lifted herself out of her fear by surrounding the one she loved with
￼God’s light and life. In so doing, she not only overcame her fear.
￼She also made it possible for a guiding Providence to protect her
￼son from a death that would otherwise have been inevitable. This,
￼thank God, I can believe, for I have helped to do the same thing for
￼many a boy in danger.
￼￼”But isn’t it selfish to pray for the protection of your own?” some
￼people ask. “Some boys have to be killed!”
￼￼This is a foolish question. It is as if a mother said, “Isn’t it selfish
￼for me to feed my baby because some babies have to starve?”
￼￼But where are we to begin if we don’t begin with those that God
￼has especially given us to protect and pray for?
￼￼Let us then begin where we are, praying for the protection of our
￼own and trusting the transcendent God to weave these prayers
￼together in His own time and His own way toward the protection
￼￼”But if everybody prayed like that how could we ever have a war?”
￼some people ask.
￼￼The answer to that is simple; we couldn’t.
￼￼Those who seek God for the protection of their own are not working selfishly. They are among the makers of the coming peace. They are beating a path through the wilderness of life toward the Kingdom of Heaven. And this strait and narrow path shall one day be the broad highway of all humanity.
From The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford, New York: Ballantine, 1983.