A Reliable Alternative

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

IF you like cats or want to find a job, numerous books on any number of subjects have been written for your benefit. Books help feed people's hunger for knowledge.

If you want to increase your understanding of God, however, there is one special book on this subject: the Holy Bible. For centuries this book has been a source of enlightenment for millions. For those who love and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Bible holds a prominent place.

But somewhere along the way, it appears that reliance on the inspired Word of the Bible has given place to dependence on men and women. And trust in God's promises to heal the physical ills of mankind has changed to faith in material remedies.

In view of the widespread concern about health care, I recently searched the Scriptures for evidence that a spiritual system of care, based on prayer, is a reliable alternative to medical care.

Researching health and related words, I found that, through the Bible's message, God does tell us what to do, and then explains the rewards of obedience. In different ways, the Bible promises health to all those who understandingly obey God's laws. Each way leads back to the same theme-that of man's spiritual being.

A prime example might be found in these words from Exodus: "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee . . . for I am the Lord that healeth thee" (15:26).

I have experienced firsthand the practicality of God's promise. As a child, and up through young adulthood, I suffered terribly from migraines. The medical remedies I tried were useless. One night at a party, unable to cope with a sudden attack, I asked a Christian Scientist there for help. Although Christian Science was new to me, I was aware that it relied on prayer alone to heal sickness.

With great compassion, he prayed silently for me. In a few moments the pain and nausea I had been having vanished. There were no aftereffects. Amazed by this immediate proof of the reliability of prayer, I asked my friend what he had done. He said that although prayer does not depend on a specific formula, effective prayer is shown by Christian Science to originate in understanding the teachings and works of Jesus.

Aside from The Lord's Prayer, which applies to mankind collectively and is recorded in the book of Matthew, Jesus' instructions on prayer were brief. But he loved and understood the Hebrew Scriptures. Knowing the power of God, he persisted in sharing this knowledge with anyone who was receptive. He taught that God is perfect and that man, made in the image and likeness of God, is also perfect.

My friend said that in his prayer for me he had turned to a passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick"

(pp. 476-477).

Many Christians turn to God to help them. But few realize that an understanding of God's power also helps them heal sickness. Science and Health clarifies this point: "If we are Christians on all moral questions, but are in darkness as to the physical exemption which Christianity includes, then we must have more faith in God on this subject and be more alive to His promises" (p. 373).

My healing of migraines has been permanent. In over thirty years since then, I have never again suffered from the slightest hint of them.

Prayer is reliable because it brings forth the power of God, which is the only real power. This power is universal. It heals humanity's physical ills without regard to race, color, or gender. And it will continue to heal those who love God's promises and obey His commandments with understanding.

You can find in-depth articles discussing prayer in The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine.

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