THE last words of Christ Jesus in the Gospel of Mark are ``And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.''1 Noting the lack of such signs among her Christian contemporaries of the nineteenth century, Mary Baker Eddy2 wrote, ``Our missionaries carry the Bible to India, but can it be said that they explain it practically, as Jesus did, when hundreds of persons die there annually from serpent-bites?''3 Devoting the latter part of her life to restoring to Christianity what she referred to as ``its lost element of healing,''4 Mrs. Eddy has articulated the Science by which Christian healing is being practiced successfully today in countries all over the world, India included.
But while this great power of God has restored thousands to health, joy, and purposefulness, millions more are still held in bondage by suffering and disease. Jesus clearly indicated that we can all challenge and defeat the claims of sin and disease. ``Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils,''5 he instructed his disciples.
Christian Science maintains that physical healing is a natural outcome of divine law, which is applicable today as in Jesus' time. The Bible teaches that God, Spirit, made all and made it good; that man (male and female) is the image of this perfect God, endowed with dominion. The suffering in people's lives contradicts this spiritual truth. But through prayer we can begin to prove this evidence to be false because it's contrary to what the one Almighty God has truly created.
One of the many opportunities I've had to prove this occurred about two years ago when one of my knees became crippled. Putting even the slightest weight on my foot caused extreme pain. As I was hopping along at the mercy of this disability, a question from the Christian Science textbook by Mrs. Eddy came forcefully to thought: ``Is there no divine permission to conquer discord of every kind with harmony, with Truth and Love?''6 The fact that there is such permission was so clear to me that it seemed ludicrous to be hobbling around as if I were helpless to do otherwise. Immediately, and with no sense of willfully trying to force an improvement, I put full weight on the leg and walked normally from that moment on without the slightest discomfort.
Though I've had many other healings as a result of practicing Christian Science, that one stands out as a bold reminder of the fact that health is not some sort of peace treaty worked out through delicate and often prolonged negotiations between mind and body; it is a divine right to be claimed now. Instead of serving the body as helpless slaves to its demands, we have permission to reject any debilitating demands and to be healed. This is what Jesus expected his followers to do, and it is not only possible but is being proved daily in the lives of thousands of people who take his word seriously enough to act on its power. This power isn't reserved for a select few but for all who turn to God in humble, understanding prayer.
No one ever needs to feel helpless to resist and destroy suffering. God has given you divine permission to demonstrate this fact.
1Mark 16:17, 18. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 328. 4Manual of The Mother Church, p. 17. 5Matthew 10:8. 6Science and Health, p. 394. Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction. Psalms 103:2-4