Why did this happen to me? Why did they do that? Why can't I have this? We forever want to know why.

We don't usually question what causes good. But we do tend to look for the causes of the things that go wrong in our lives -- the unhappy relationships, the lost opportunities, the illnesses. Yet even if we think we've found the cause, is this sufficient to resolve the problem or to prevent its recurrence? We need to understand what produces harmony, what its basis is, just as in math we need to understand what produces the right answer. Until we understand the rule behind the right answer, we may continue making the same mistake.

Recently I made a trip back home. While home I became terribly ill. At first I thought the illness was due to something I had eaten. I wasn't satisfied with that explanation but didn't give it much more thought. After a sleepless and very uncomfortable night, I asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me. I knew through my study of this Science that prayer, based on an understanding of the rule of harmony -- of God's absolute power and goodness and man's perfection as His spiritual image -- heals.

By the end of the next day I was feeling fine. But I was still searching for a cause. I kept wondering if it was something I had eaten. Then I thought maybe it was something I had done. Or maybe it was even something bad that I had thought.

When I returned from the trip with this still on my mind, I read a sentence from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ''A false belief is both the tempter and the tempted, the sin and the sinner, the disease and its cause.''n1 The disease and its cause -- both a false belief. Why, of course, I thought, a cause can be no more real than its effect. Either both have reality or neither has reality.

n1 Science and Health, p. 393.

If sickness or anything that is wrong had an actual cause, it would be real. But Christian Science, in accord with the Scriptures, teaches that there is and can be only one genuine cause, for there is only one creator, God. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says: ''There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause.''n2

n2 I bid., p. 207.

So where does that leave sickness, sin, unhappiness? It leaves them without a genuine cause. And being causeless, they can have no power as effects.

Sickness, sin -- and all that seems wrong in the world -- are the result of false beliefs, beliefs that can be corrected through a better understanding of God. These false beliefs and what appear as their effects have in truth no cause and therefore no power or reality. Christ Jesus, our great Exemplar, clearly indicated the nature of evil as a falsity when, speaking of the devil, he said, ''He is a liar, and the father of it.''n3 The Master proved through his healing works that evil is a lie, a mistaken belief. He proved conclusively that God does not produce evil, create it, or cause it. Hence evil's unreality, for God, good, being All, produces and creates all.

n3 John 8:44.

It's often good to askwhy. We need to know the reasons behind the events and effects in our lives and in the world around us. But focusing on the ''why'' of evil won't enable us to overcome it. Victory comes with the understanding that all cause and effect truly belong to God. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Deuteronomy 4:39

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