I was with a group of people recently, and two of them had colds. One of my friends went into a panic and moved to the other end of the table. She was really worried about catching a cold because she was doing something special in a few days. I didn't blame her. Being sick isn't anyone's idea of a good time.
I used to be just as afraid of colds. But then I got a completely different view of why we get colds and how we can avoid having them.
We tend to think of ourselves as being material bodies that live and interact with others. We may believe that when other people have certain sicknesses, "their" germs may get into "our" bodies, so that we get sick, too. Christian Science offers a totally different approach to looking at who we are. A preventive and healing approach.
Fundamentally, we were made by God. God is divine Spirit. We are His spiritual children, or ideas. Spiritual identities aren't actually living in physical bodies, picking up material germs, subject to other material conditions.
But being spiritual doesn't mean that we are like ghosts. It's that we see ourselves more and more as made to express the qualities of God: love, goodness, intelligence, peace, joy. Good is what defines us, instead of the material body.
It's hard to imagine germs infecting joy or love or peace. You can see they really don't go together at all. The material can't infect the spiritual. And as you identify yourself more with those and other spiritual qualities - such as strength and wisdom - the idea of getting sick will become quite a bit less threatening.
I remembered this when I was with my friends that night. I wasn't afraid of sickness for myself or for the others, because I knew that we were all spiritual, children of God, and that we were surrounded by His goodness and peace. There are no germs in God's goodness.
None of us got sick, even though we were all together for quite a few hours.
Even if you do feel sick, understanding your spiritual nature can help you to get well quickly. I'm always encouraged by this account of spiritual healing in the Bible: A woman had a fever. We can't say for sure what kind of fever. But we do know that Jesus "touched her hand, and the fever left her" (Matt. 8:15). He understood her spiritual nature so well that he was able to heal her instantly.
This kind of quick recovery is possible for us through turning our thinking to God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science in 1866, wrote "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This book thoroughly describes how to be healed of disease through prayer. Page 378 explains that "disease has no intelligence.... Sickness is not a God-given, nor a self-constituted material power, which copes astutely with Mind and finally conquers it. God never endowed matter with power to disable Life or to chill harmony with a long and cold night of discord."
Once, I was in a restaurant, seated near a woman who was coughing and sneezing loudly. I began to pray immediately. Her conviction that she was sick, and that others would get her sickness, was so strong that I actually began to feel like coughing and sneezing also. Now, no one would say you could catch a cold that fast. But by the time I got to where I would shortly be conducting a meeting, I was feeling ill.
I sat myself down and thought deeply about those statements from Science and Health. I prayed for a few moments, remembering that God is omnipotent Love. He never made disease and would never send evil to any of His children. I knew that I was spiritual, and therefore not a "receptacle" for germs or other material elements that are said to cause disease. By the time I had to conduct the meeting, I was completely well. And there was no recurrence of the feeling of sickness afterward.
The next time you're with someone who is sick, just take a moment to stop and give thanks that you and that person - and everyone - are spiritual and don't need to be sick. God never sent disease, and all of us can prove this for ourselves, no matter where we are.
The Christian Science Journal, which is published monthly, has other articles about prayer and health.