I USED to think that catching colds was inevitable. Well--it isn't. I used to think that health was the most tentative thing in the world; that at any moment some accident or virus could ruin my very best plans. I've learned a new way of looking at health, and among other new freedoms, I haven't had to cope with a cold in years. And I don't expect to.
What if health doesn't depend on the body--on proteins and enzymes and fluids? What if health depends on what we know of God? Wouldn't it follow that to find the cause of health and the laws of healing, we would need to understand the nature of God? The wonderful thing is, this is possible to do!
Some years ago I was curious and stopped in a Christian Science Reading Room. I had friends who were consistently healed, through prayer, of things that I had always taken medication for, including colds and influenza. I wanted to know how the healing they were experiencing works.
I had a lot of questions, and for the answers I was constantly referred to Christ Jesus' healing work in the Bible. With closer study I began to see that he was not performing miracles. Rather, through healing Jesus was teaching the very nature of God and the nature of our present relationship to the one God. He taught that God is all-loving, all-good, and all-powerful--ever active and ever present. And his healing works were a demonstration of just how relevant that understanding is to our daily lives. Jesus gave full and living proof of God's power and willingness to care for His creation.
Because our thought and our being begin in God, it must also be true at a very fundamental level that the man of God's creating is like Him--spiritual, wholly and completely good. And actively loving one another in the way that Jesus taught us opens our eyes to the truth of that. Paul describes the impact following Jesus' teachings has on our lives when he points out in his letter to the Romans: ``Now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. . . . The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord'' (6:22, 23). That freedom begins in our thought. The spiritual freedom that obeying God brings takes away the fears that confront us. It enables us to abandon sinful and unsatisfying behavior, and, as I am finding in my own life, it heals us too.
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, unlocks the message of the Scriptures. She writes, ``The question then as now was, How did Jesus heal the sick?'' (p. 136). Through an intense study of the Bible, she discovered the method by which Jesus healed. Putting that discovery to work by healing herself and others, she demonstrated its validity in modern times. And Science and Health is a how-to book that teaches exactly what she found.
Her instructions are clear. Elsewhere in Science and Health she explains: ``The great spiritual fact must be brought out that man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal. We must hold forever the consciousness of existence, and sooner or later, through Christ and Christian Science, we must master sin and death.'' And she adds on the next page, ``We must begin, however, with the more simple demonstrations of control, and the sooner we begin the better'' (pp. 428-429). Man is, in substance, the perfect derivative of God's own perfection, and we need to love enough to see that in ourselves and one another.
The patient attendant that I spoke with in the Reading Room those several years ago helped me to understand that because thought governs health, and God is the source of thought, we do not have to accept or believe fearful suggestions about our health. This includes the threat that says, ``If you go out in the rain, you'll catch a cold.'' We must learn to listen carefully to our God-given intuition, which always affirms our right to act in accordance with divine Love, God, and always confirms the power and presence of health.
The attendant assured me that if we do go out for a walk and happen to get caught in a rain shower, we may well get wet, but we don't have to get sick over it. In fact, there is no cause whatsoever for us to be sick. We can claim instead the dominion of health that is ours at every moment.
I remembered my dad's kind words as I was running from our house to the car during an inconvenient rainstorm. ``You're sweet,'' he said, ``but you won't melt.'' I could also see that what the librarian was helping me to grasp went deeper than that good-natured encouragement. The ``great spiritual fact'' of man's God-given perfection that Mrs. Eddy spoke of is not just emotional comfort; it does indeed heal sickness in the scientifically Christian manner that Jesus taught. And I was beginning to understand how!
From that day to this, I have not had a cold. One day, not so long ago, I did start to feel the symptoms that used to tell me I was ``coming down'' with one. I set aside what I was doing at the moment and prayed. I thought about all that I had learned through my study of Christian Science about the nature of health and healing, and about my own very present relationship with God. I wouldn't have to let this run its course as I would have in the past. I knew that God is the source of my true thoughts, and everyone else's too, and that the only thoughts God has for us all are healthy ones. On those grounds I was able to dismiss summarily any fear or suggestion to the contrary. A cold has no authority where God's dominion is recognized. In a few minutes the symptoms were gone. And I could rejoice to see once again that health is not at all a tentative state of human affairs but is the constant evidence of God's presence with us all.