The poster hanging on the Post Office wall said, "Help Stamp Out Breast Cancer." When I noticed that big pink sign while waiting in line the other day, I took it to heart and spent the waiting time praying for all who feel threatened by the disease. October has been deemed National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Several years ago, I was very aware of the widely publicized symptoms of the disease in my own body. It felt like an irreversible curse.
Initially a deep dread engulfed me. My first thoughts were: "What? Me?" followed by "Why me?" As the symptoms became more unavoidable, I forced myself to collect my thoughts and consider what steps to take. I knew from experience that allowing fear to take over was immobilizing and unhelpful. I did know I needed help with a capital H. So I went to the highest power I know: God. I prayed first for how to pray.
I study Christian Science daily, and have grown up with spiritual healing as a normal approach to problems that emerge in one's life; I want to turn to God for help and healing. The instances of physical healing I've seen have shown me the mental nature of disease, and indeed, the mental nature of all our experiences in life. Turning to God has cultivated a strong bond between us.
However, because of the intensity surrounding this disease, I found it heavy going. So I prayed for calm. I searched the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," along with other writings by Mary Baker Eddy, for an enlightening verse or phrase that would lift the dread and doom I felt. I found a gold mine of encouragement and hope. I prayed deeply and earnestly for self-revision. My thoughts about my health, my future, and my life were in need of transformation, and I was oh-so- willing.
Humility was the most necessary requirement during this period of almost constant prayer. I mean by humility the outstanding quality that defined Christ Jesus. In the very face of sin, diseases, and even death, he rejected the obvious view of things for the divine view. And that healed. As a follower of Jesus, I needed to do the same. That is, I needed to look past the obvious physical and mental condition to see what God made. God doesn't make or send evil. "God is love" (I John 4:16).
I began to see that this was not the personal problem it appeared to be, but was a proposed reversal of the very nature of God as Love. If I believed in this disease, in a way I would be upholding a belief in random evil and the inability of God to rescue and heal. I saw the nature of this disease as an assault on womanhood, motherhood, and manhood, too. It hit me as an unjust robbery of the peace of so many. Yet, God is just. On this basis I could protest cruelty to men, women, and children. God did not make us defenseless and vulnerable.
One day, I found myself on my knees in my study. I wasn't begging God, but I was very receptive. After some time in prayer, I felt a tangible and loving presence there with me. The best way I can describe it was that a tender exchange, like a conversation, occurred between me and my divine Parent. After that, I was changed. I felt safe and loved. The symptoms had not left me, physically, but they no longer loomed before me as a power over me. I left them. And as I did, they left my thought, and then my body.
God does not curse His own beloved children. God blesses and saves. Humility does reverse perceived curses, and as it does, we can see ourselves and others as God intended us. To glorify God is to be whole and free to express all that is good. From a position of blessedness, disease, and all that robs us of our God-given freedom, is stamped out. With prayer, these well-meaning slogans of hope become obtainable opportunities to express God-given dominion - not cursed, but blessed.
The Lord is good to all:
and his tender mercies
are over all his works.