How are you?

What's your answer when someone asks you that very ordinary question? A friend of mine used to show great annoyance that I always answered ''Fine.'' She felt burdened and unhappy about her own life and was apparently bothered that others didn't feel the same way.

But I was only telling the truth. I've learned that the real truth about me, and everyone, is as reliable and unsusceptible to change as our Father, God. And God is infinite good, our perfect creator.

Certainly we need to face up to troubles and not naively ignore them. Yet to repeat our troubles to every listening ear only gives us and others a more solid conviction that evil, not good, is real and true.

Referring to God, the Gospel of John in the Bible states that ''all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.'' n1 All that genuinely exists, then, is good, expressing the nature of God.

n1 John 1:3.

Some may argue that this is just a pleasant theory. Many people feel uncomfortable with views that aren't borne out by what the five senses report. But that's where a vital element of Christianity comes in: faith.

Events in Christ Jesus' career offered some new ideas about what we can trust. Even when conditions looked grim, he proved that life and health are dependable gifts from God. He reformed sinners, healed the sick, and even raised the dead through an understanding of the all-power and omnipresence of Spirit, God. Material evidence didn't convince him of incurability, because spiritual sense was his basis for judging everything.

Today, too, we can agree with the spiritual facts instead of material evidence when the latter points to a hurt or sick or sad mortal. We can mentally insist that we are fine, on the basis of what has been proved by spiritually-minded thinkers down through the ages. Earnest prayer to God for a revelation of spiritual truth is answered now, and healing follows.

Recently I woke several mornings in a row with symptoms of a long-forgotten throat condition. I had had medical treatment for it more than once before I began studying Christian Science. Looking back, I could see that this condition seemed to dominate a large chunk of my history. It had evoked a good bit of sympathy from others and had left a strong impression that it was a part of my identity.

In prayer I realized that the fact of God's ever-present goodness had never included sickness or pain. No matter how real it felt, it had no history, no present, no future, in the universe of divine Truth, God.

As I prayed each morning, insisting on my God-given freedom from evil in any form, the pain would fade, only to return the next morning. But I kept on, because I had more faith in what I knew about myself spiritually than in what the material senses were reporting. Then one day I woke up with not a trace of the problem, and it has not returned. No word of the difficulty had been mentioned to anyone else, though I'll admit I was sometimes tempted to complain. My spiritual conviction now had proof to back it up, and I could say what I had known all along - I'm fine!

Christian Scientists don't ignore disease or pain. On the contrary, they take immediate steps to deal with their problems - through prayer and regeneration. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded this newspaper, explains, ''It is scientific to rob disease of all reality.'' n2 This truth, and not mere Pollyanna optimism, was behind my answer to my friend and my approach to the throat condition. Even though we can't ''see'' the forces of Spirit that produce healing, God's power is supremely reliable, and each of us, as His spiritual offspring, is fine.

n2 No and Yes, p. 2. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O Lord our lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. . . .What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. Psalms 8:1,4-6

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