Throughout history, sickness has often impelled individuals to turn their thoughts toward God. Disillusioned by material remedies that either don't heal the sickness or that create intolerable side effects, many have abandoned all hope in material means and have opened their hearts to their creator. ''He sent his word, and healed them'' n1 is a promise more likely to be heard and responded to when we're sick than when we're well.
n1 Psalms 107:20.
Because of this heightened spiritual responsiveness, it is understandable why many believe that sickness is sent by God to bring us into conformance with His law. But deeper study of the Bible invalidates this belief by giving us a better understanding of the nature of God and His creation.
If everything that God made is good and complete (see Genesis 1:31 and 2:1), and if His understanding is infinite (see Psalms 147:5), there can be no room in His infinite understanding of His own good and complete creation for the evil of sickness to exist. Sickness is a misconception of God's creation, a result of believing that evil has divine authority to exist and is therefore as real as good. But because it is a misconception, and has no real authority to exist, it can be destroyed, as Christ Jesus, the Way-shower, demonstrated for us. The power of the eternal Christ, Truth, dissolves the belief in sickness, in a power and substance opposed to God.
If sickness does turn us to God, it's not because He has sent it to us. Sickness - any form of suffering - never comes from God. Rather, it's a result of not being in accord with His law. This doesn't mean that we're necessarily sinful if we're sick; but it does mean that if we're sick and want to get well - be completely and permanently healed - we need to learn more about His law and more diligently conform our thoughts and behavior to it.
In much the same way, a misappre-hension of the laws governing simple arithmetic would cause us suffering. We might have difficulty keeping a job, making change, balancing our account. The evils we were experiencing would disappear as fast as we opened our mind to the unerring laws governing arithmetic and learned to conform to them.
The laws of God are spiritual, the antithesis of matter and material belief, and to come into accord with them we must progressively learn to discard materialistic ways of thinking and material remedies, and place our faith in God , Spirit.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''You must learn to acknowledge God in all His ways. It is only a lack of understanding of the allness of God, which leads you to believe in the existence of matter, or that matter can frame its own conditions, contrary to the law of Spirit.
''Sickness is the schoolmaster, leading you to Christ; first to faith in Christ; next to belief in God as omnipotent; and finally to the understanding of God and man in Christian Science, whereby you learn that God is good, and in Science man is His likeness, the forever reflection of goodness.'' n2
n2 Rudimental Devine Science, pp. 10-11.
It's a truism that we seem to learn most from our mistakes, and sickness is a mistake. Our disillusionment with a material sense of existence prepares us to turn to our Shepherd, divine Love, to learn His way of salvation. And His way of spiritual enlightenment destroys our suffering - because suffering doesn't come from Him! DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Psalms 86:5