I was enjoying an evening walk around the neighborhood when I suddenly felt disoriented and weak and noticed that one side of my body was not altogether cooperating.
But as a direct counter to the fear that crept in with the symptoms, I heard this message from the book of Isaiah: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Isa. 41:10. I felt an absolute assurance that God, good alone, was all that was with me, and that I could never leave the presence of His absolute harmony.
Then a supporting idea from Acts presented itself: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being." Acts 17:28. This assured me that my life had to be in God's care. In Love's care. What could there be to fear? This understanding was the beginning of a very rapid healing.
If we believe that disease has purely physical roots, making the destruction of fear the first priority in its treatment may seem a little strange. Yet even a strictly material approach to dealing with disease leaves room for a relationship between fear and bodily ailments. For example, some physicians believe that long-term stress—the fear that things are out of control or beyond fixing—leads to physical breakdown.
In her textbook on healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy made the definitive statement: "When fear disappears, the foundation of disease is gone." Science and Health, p. 368. Further, she instructed, "Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients. . . . If you succeed in wholly removing the fear, your patient is healed." Ibid., pp. 411-412.
Why is this so? Well, to begin with, it helps to understand that the cause of all sickness is entirely mental, which means that it can be healed—completely eradicated—through a change in one's thought. This process doesn't have to be difficult or complicated. It can be as simple as one pure insight or a gentle glimpse into God's infinite goodness.
But fear would set up a roadblock to that uplift in thought. It would keep us so focused on symptoms, conditions, and concerns about what might happen in the future that we can't consider anything else. It would sow such turmoil that we can't see the protecting power and presence of God already at work in our lives.
As Mrs. Eddy put it: "The soil of disease is mortal mind, and you have an abundant or scanty crop of disease, according to the seedlings of fear. Sin and the fear of disease must be uprooted and cast out." Ibid., p. 188. But she made it quite clear that healing disease involves much more than just allaying or repressing fear. One can't merely proclaim, "Everything will work out fine," and then just hope that it will. That would be dangerous! Instead, fear must be removed, "uprooted and cast out," for us to be free of disease.
What is it, then, that removes fear? The understanding that the argument fear is making is invariably false. No matter what form it takes, fear is ultimately always arguing that we are separate from all-good God. That infinite, divine Love is not in command of a particular situation. That something in our lives could be beyond Him or outside of His care and control.
But Jesus' good news to humanity was that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. 10:7. What Mrs. Eddy called ". . . the reign and rule of universal harmony. . ." Science and Health, p. 208. is not something that can be lost or interrupted by certain circumstances or that will only come at some future date when we are feeling well again. God and His wholly good creation are all that exist and are forever at one—no interruption, no separation, no lapse. Perceiving this, even just for a moment, destroys the belief that anything could ever come between God and man—meaning each one of us—and cause discord of any kind. And because that belief is the only supposed source of both illness and fear, both illness and fear vanish when their seeming source is exposed for what it is: an impossibility.
As Mrs. Eddy explained it: "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,—neither in nor of matter,—and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well." Ibid., p. 14.
That's exactly what happened when I found myself struggling during that evening walk. When I got home, I remained still for a bit and allowed myself to be aware of the fact that God—and God alone—was governing every part of the universe, including me. It dawned like this, using the synonyms that Mrs. Eddy used to define God See Science and Health, p. 587 .: The law of Life, not death, is in operation, and there is nothing to interrupt its activity, purpose, or outcome. I contemplated each synonym in like manner: the law of Truth, not error; Soul, not sense; Spirit, not matter; Mind, not unintelligence; Principle, not chaos; is in operation. The law of Love, not fear, is at work, and there is no power to interrupt its activity, purpose, or outcome—all-harmonious being.
I was up and about working the next morning—completely healed.
The truth is that health, harmony, and peace are God's constant gift to His idea, man. They are the eternal emanations of the divine character. The only presence there is, is infinite God and His infinite idea, man—including the universe.
CAN YOU IMAGINE GOD, WHO IS LOVE ITSELF, SAYING,
"BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID"? NO!
Can you imagine God, who is Love itself, saying, "Be afraid, be very afraid"? I cannot. Instead, God reassures us: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee." All that God—absolute, infinite Love—can know is its own infinite harmony. And all that we can know, as the very expression of Love, is that same infinite harmony.
Recognizing the fraudulent nature of fear, and the uninterruptible presence and operation of God's goodness, we can always see the fulfillment of this promise: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32.
Daryl Francis is a Christian Science practitioner in Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia.