The e-mail message I'd sent came bouncing back, marked "undeliverable." Written on it in several places were the words fatal error, followed by many exclamation points.
Intimidating as that message was, all I needed to do, I found, was remove an extra letter from the address and resend the document. Problem solved. (Hardly a fatal error in the literal sense of the term!)
As I thought further about this, I realized how thankful I am to have learned that many other things people face, commonly thought to be dangerous or even fatal, can be proved powerless. The world's evils really involve mistaken concepts. When we correct an erroneous concept with the right one, the error vanishes. And so does all evidence of the error. Interestingly, by understanding Christ Jesus' teachings, we can even prove that such things as sin, sickness, poverty, tyranny, violence, and death are first and foremost errors of thought.
Can we actually find the world's gravest ills to be just errors-with no power to harm? This is exactly what Jesus came to teach and prove. His healing ministry, in which all sorts of human suffering were eliminated through the power of God alone, shows the erroneousness of all that opposes God, who is infinite good. Jesus proved what the first chapter of Genesis shows: that you and I actually come from an all-good source, not from a mix of good and evil. Perceiving this as spiritual reality, we can consistently prove it in daily experience. Understanding God to be divine Spirit opens the door to healing in the way Jesus healed.
In the book of James, the Bible says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (1:17). God's work is to bless, not to harm!
When I was a college student, I began to have the symptoms of heart trouble. This could have been quite frightening. But as a child I had attended Sunday School at a Christian Science church, where I had learned about the goodness of God and the erroneous nature of sickness. And now what I had learned helped me.
I remember one particular time when I was alone in my dorm room in the middle of the morning. No one else was around for me to call to, and I began to feel I was losing consciousness, perhaps dying.
Right then and there, in my extreme need, the words of the Lord's Prayer came to thought (see Matthew 6:9-13). I sat down on the bed and began to pray, saying the words out loud. The concluding two lines of this powerful prayer are explained in Mary Baker Eddy's book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in this way:
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All" (p. 17).
When I finished praying, I felt stronger, and was fully conscious. At that point I called a Christian Science practitioner, someone who is engaged full time in the work of Christian healing as Jesus practiced it. She prayed for me over a period of time, and we met often. As a result of prayer, I began to discover more of the wondrous love and healing power of God. My thought was gradually lifted up through prayer to realize-make real-the powerlessness, or erroneousness, of all that is opposite to God. I was fully healed, and have led an active life in the many years since.
We need not be afraid that we've come upon some fatal circumstance or condition. We can turn to God in every situation and be completely safe in the truth we learn of Him, comforted, and healed.
The Bible teaches the grace, the all-inclusive love, the omnipotence, of God. God renders evil powerless. Every one of us can turn to God and find freedom. We can be as unimpressed by threats against our well-being as I was by that computer message!
You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, at (www.tfccs.com).