A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO a dear friend told me that she felt sorry for people who asked God to heal them, when they could just go to a doctor and get relief. She didn't understand why people had more faith in God than in medicine to help them.
God can do much more than help someone "manage" suffering
So why is it worthwhile to ask God for healing? One answer is that communication with God, whatever form it takes, leads one into relation with Spirit, and begins to spiritualize one's concept of oneself. This is important because it brings to light more of what one really is—the likeness of divinity, a truly spiritual being. An increased understanding of one's spirituality and relation to the Divine opens the way to permanent change for the better. As Mary Baker Eddy put it in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. "A scientific mentalmethod is more sanitary than the use of drugs, and such a mental method produces permanent health." Science and Health, p. 79.
Mary Baker Eddy perceived her discovery, Christian Science, as a Science of health and holiness. She knew that God could do much more than enable someone to "manage" suffering. And her book on spiritual healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has helped millions to prove that the divine power of God can cure disease permanently. To prove that it is possible to think of oneself as literally—not figuratively—a child of God, and then to live in that relation to the Divine on a daily basis. The result is peace, greater trust, better health, including freedom from painful and seemingly inescapable conditions. In short, Mary Baker Eddy discovered a truth that transforms lives.
THANKS TO SCIENCE AND HEALTH, that transformation is possible for anyone today, as the articles and testimonies in this magazine make clear. Several decades ago I experienced the power of this book. I had been an active Christian most of my life, and already had a relationship with God that was precious. Yet as I read Science and Health, something happened within me that was totally different. At the time, I'd been talking with a clergyman of my own denomination about my spiritual quest, and as I became interested in Christian Science, he and I discussed theological issues I read about in Mrs. Eddy's book. He was a good and loving man, and he helped me immeasurably.
Finally, one day I told him about the effect Science and Health had had on my life—the greater hope and increased patience with others that I now felt. I had more confidence that God would help me, and had received the unexpected bonus of better health. I was being made into a better person. I felt I needed to unite with the Church that published this book so I could help others experience the same kind of transformation.
This clergyman looked me in the eye and said, "All of the things you've described indicate to me that this is the work of the Holy Spirit. So if you go, go with God and with my blessing."
Omnipotent Love is with everyone, now in this time, in this hour.
The work of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this, in a nutshell, is the crux of what it is to turn oneself over to God, to trust Him under all conditions, to the best of one's ability. And what is the work of the Holy Spirit, which is translated as "Holy Ghost" in many Bibles? Mary Baker Eddy defines Holy Ghost as "divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love." Ibid., p. 588.
Divine Science. Pure, dependable, and provable as Science. Perfect, intelligent, and loving as the Divine. And through the influence of this Science, anyone can see the development of Life, Truth, and Love in his or her own life. One can think of Moses parting the Red Sea and realize what it meant for God to be a real persence with him, not an abstract idea. One can recognize that behind Jesus' confident ability to heal was all-powerful Spirit, which could not fail. And one can recognize that this same omnipotence is with everyone, now in this time, in this hour.
IN THE YEARS SINCE MY CONVERSATIONS with the clergyman, I've learned a lot about what it is to live in relation to the Divine. This way of life is not without demands—including the demand to think in more spiriutal terms, to yield less to personal opinions, predilections, and prejudices. Some healings I've experienced through prayer have been simple; others, more complex. Each has taught me about God and my relation to Him. Through them, I have come to believe less in matter and more in Spirit.
I've also faced several dark nights where life hung in the balance and the journey through "the valley of the shadow of death" Ps. 23:4. seemed like a long one. For me, the simple experiences of God's power were a preparation for those dark nights when the only choice is to throw oneself into the arms of the Divine and trust that Life will prevail. Those arms are everlasting, omnipotent arms. They are the arms of unending Love.
To rely on God for healing, then, is to learn to expect total cure, not just pain management. To strive for self-transformation so that the web of material living, which can be mentally and physically destructive, begins to lose its power. It is, in short, an opportunity to experience not just improvement or temporary relief, but permanent and complete healing. Even more, it is to be transformed. And that is something worth praying for.
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