IN America's public debate over health care, observers have asked why some people, including Christian Scientists, rely on prayer for physical healing. The answer is clear when it is understood what Christian Science is, and that physical healing is the byproduct of gaining a better understanding of God and of man as His creation.
Christian Science is the name Mary Baker Eddy gave over one hundred years ago to her discovery of the scientific laws that were behind the healings of Christ Jesus.
Jesus knew God to be omnipotent and omnipresent good. By means of God's power, Jesus healed diseases considered both curable and incurable, redeemed people from sins, and raised the dead. He did this without drugs, hygiene, surgery, psychology, or hypnotism. He promised that through God's power we would have abundant life (see John 10:10).
The Bible shows that the healing power of God reached others through the purity of Jesus' thoughts. Through his forgiveness. Through the understanding that the life of every man, woman, and child is in God. Jesus is shown to have rejected anything that was not good, and to have honored God, the giver of nothing but good. And the Bible records the many healings that resulted.
Today God is often accepted as an available help in redeeming lives from sin. He may even be thought to grant physical healing to a select few, through miraculous, divine intervention. But it is not necessary to accept physical healing only in theory, or just for a few. After all, Jesus said, according to the Gospel of St. John, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (14:12).
Mrs. Eddy indicated that she established the Christian Science Church to restore primitive Christian healing through following the teachings of Jesus. She said in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Jesus established in the Christian era the precedent for all Christianity, theology, and healing. Christians are under as direct orders now, as they were then, to be Christlike, to possess the Christ-spirit, to follow the Christ-example, and to heal the sick as well as the sinning" (p. 138).
Such healing is going on today and is available to all. Why should this be hard to believe? Could God have loved the people in the time of Jesus more than us, today? Could God once have been omnipotent, but then somehow have lost His power? It couldn't be! Because like produces like, God gives you and me the spiritual qualities of perfection and immortality. Health is the natural state of all that is created by God. As we come to understand these facts, healing follows in human existence.
I attended a Christian Science Sunday School because my parents believed that spiritual education was essential in properly raising a child. They were not Christian Scientists, but they chose the denomination because of its fundamental teaching that God is Love and cares for everyone unconditionally.
As a teenager, I was given a choice when I was ill: I could go to a doctor or rely on Christian Science for healing. I understood that it was imperative that I choose responsibly. Each time I chose Christian Science. Through physical healings of a diagnosed speech impediment and a steam burn, it became very natural for me to trust God. I continued to have quick healings through my prayers, including ones that brought permanent freedom from recurring earaches that had been treated by a medical doctor unsuccessfully, and from incapacitating symptoms of toxic shock syndrome.
In each healing that comes through prayer, we are improved morally and spiritually, as well as physically. Once you've drawn closer to God and have experienced such healing, it is easy to understand why Christian Scientists rely exclusively on prayer for their health and happiness. And it is then easy to see that Christian Science is more than just a system of alternative health care. It is a way of life.