I HAVE a friend who is convinced that on a specific night a few years ago she woke from a sound sleep and was compelled to pray because of the desperate need of someone in another country whom she didn't know at the time. Later, upon learning of a person's torture in another part of the world on that particular night, she was sure she knew why she could not go back to sleep but had to pray throughout the night. I would be tempted to dismiss this person's reasoning except for the fact that I know how she has responded to her own children's needs over the years. She has persuaded me that a parent's love is sensitive to human need. My own son in a rather different way has brought me to a similar conclusion. More than once, now that he's no longer a child,he has wondered out loud how his mom or I happened to show up just when he needed help the most, or just whenhe was doing something he shouldn't have been doing. I remember the same feeling with my own mom and dad.
While such insight might not always be clearly in focus -- we may not knowto what we are responding or why there is need -- it happens too frequently to dismiss as mere coincidence. Greatlove responds naturally to great need, whether we can explain the processor not.
If this is true of human parents, imagine what it means in regard to God, who is all-loving and life-giving. Christ Jesus illustrated the love of God in so many ways, often through quick healing of a man's or woman's illness or disability; at other times, his willingness to forgive and to show a person something of man's God-given selfhood brought divine comfort and reassurance.
Once he explained his Father's perfect love through a question: ``If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?''1 Immediately after this the Bible records that Jesus healed a man who could not speak. The Master's spiritual conviction of God's care led directly to a healing response.
This is not only the explanation for my friend's response to another's need or for my son's question about how my wife and I knew when to show up; it is also a reassurance that we, too, can learn to respond to God's tender care when great human need cries out for help, no matter what the circumstances may be. Mary Baker Eddy,2 drawing on Jesus' teachings as well as her own experience of Christian healing, became persuaded that divine certainty underlies our relationship to God. She wrote at one point, ``It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.'' And she added, ``The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love.''3
This truth isn't simply a matter of religious belief; it has to do with our innate, God-given, spiritual capacity to know, to understand, and to reflect His love. The capacity is always present, but it comes out and is recognized in us as we awake to our nature as God's child. The more we discern our Godlike, spiritual selfhood and feel His love for us, the more we feel compelled to express this love toward others.
Too often the thought of Christian, or spiritual, healing is relegated to the ancient past, to Jesus and to his early disciples, as if this gift of God were only partially given to a handful of people. If we begin to respond, however, to our own heart's yearning to know God and to express His love and care for others, we can reasonably expect that the practical knowledge and experience of Christian healing will grow in the world. It can grow as naturally in human affairs as a parent's love and intuitive knowledge of a child's need.
1Luke 11:11. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494. - NO BIBLE VERSE TODAY -