Let's say you are about to watch a tug-of-war contest. There are five people on each side. The members of team A weigh on average 150 pounds. The members on team B weigh on average 220 pounds. Which side would you expect to triumph? It's pretty clear that team B has a considerable advantage.
I bring this up because sometimes when we turn to God in prayer, there is this kind of tug of war-between conflicting beliefs in our thought. People who find it natural to turn to God in prayer when they are not feeling well may pray with great earnestness for God's help. But while they are doing this, they may, consciously or unconsciously, fear that the illness has been sent by God to punish or correct them. In such cases the hope that God will help is team A, and the fear that the illness is God's will is team B.
The belief that God sends disease undermines prayer. It fosters a pleading with God for mercy, even a desperate effort to placate His anger.
But what if you were to discover that God is not angry with His creation? The Gospel of John tells us: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [Christ Jesus], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (3:16, 17). Even a brief examination of Jesus' life would lead one to draw the conclusion that the action of divine Love is to deliver mankind from sickness and suffering.
In an essay called "A Timely Issue," the founder of this newspaper wrote, "We hear from the pulpits that sickness is sent as a discipline to bring man nearer to God,-even though sickness often leaves mortals but little time free from complaints and fretfulness, and Jesus cast out disease as evil" (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p. 6). If you read the Bible, think about it; have you come across any account in the New Testament where Jesus refused to heal someone because he said it was God's will that he or she be sick?
Those who follow the teachings of Jesus believe that he fulfilled God's will. I've never heard anyone teach that Jesus healed in defiance of God or contrary to God's will. Jesus said to pray, "Thy will be done" (Matthew 6:10). When he prayed, the lame walked, the deaf found that they could hear, the blind recovered their sight, leprosy and insanity were immediately healed. Jesus' actions disproved the heavy belief that sickness was God's will.
Back to the tug of war. When we grasp the wonderful significance of the fact that God doesn't send sickness, team B is disqualified. The contest between good and evil no longer has any "tug"-no weight, no mental influence, against the efforts to heal through prayer; team A is assured of victory.
Christian Science, discovered by Mrs. Eddy, teaches that believing that God sends sickness inspires fear instead of love. This belief only strengthens a sense of alienation from God, weakening our prayers. The more we can do to uproot this false belief from our thoughts, the more effective our prayers will be. Jesus healed so naturally because he knew that sickness has no place in the divine consciousness. To be near to God, to be conscious of His presence, is to be free from any sense of disease or suffering. The power of God is made manifest in lives of health and harmony, not of disease and inharmony.
If disease were from God it would have power, and our situation really would be hopeless. But there is no connection whatever between disease and God, divine Love. It is not of God, sent by God, even known to God. God is good, and the works of God are good. The activity of Christ continues to reveal that we are dear to God and live in His love.
We can be so grateful that Jesus lived to deliver us from the injustice called disease by showing that it has no spiritual basis. Of course, we should turn to God in prayer when we feel unwell-not because illness is a tool of God designed to get our attention, but for the very reason that God delivers us from all sense of disease.
You can find in-depth articles on Christian Science in a monthly magazine, The Christian Science Journal.