Are the bad things in life God's way of punishing us? Bad grades, bad jobs, sickness, injury, failure -- does God send evil to teach us things?
When I was in high school my foot grew malformed and very painful. I wouldn't let any of my friends see it; in fact, I tried to keep it a secret.
I often prayed to God to heal my foot. This was how I wanted to take care of the problem. But I could tell even when I didn't look at it that there wasn't any change. It just didn't seem fair. I thought I was a good person most of the time -- at least I knew I wasn't so bad as to warrant this kind of disfigurement and pain. Why was God allowing this in my life? What was He trying to tell me? What had I done wrong? I would pray and check my foot, pray and check my foot -- give up -- then pray and check my foot again. Nothing. No healing.
I didn't resent God. I just figured that there was something that I still needed to figure out, so I tried to bear the pain. Then one day I was reading about people who'd been healed by praying. Although at this point I'd pretty much given up on the possibility of my own healing, I felt incredibly happy for these people. Then I thought to myself, "The problems and diseases that these people were praying about probably seemed just as intimidating and persistent -- and, from the sound of things, sometimes even more painful than what I'm praying about."
Why were they healed? As far as I could tell, they didn't seem to deserve healing any more than I did. I remembered what I'd read in the Bible: "God created man in his own image" (Genesis 1:27). I didn't know much about God, but one thing I did know -- He is perfect. He is Spirit. He is all Life, all Truth, all Love. God doesn't have a malformation. In "his own image," neither did I.
Maybe God created me perfect, too, but just allowed me to suffer for some reason. No, that didn't make sense. God is all Love. Divine Love is infinitely more than human love. Could God's love for me, a love so big, also allow pain?
For the first time in a long time I felt some hope. If God loved me so much that I was created spiritually and perfect, then this problem wasn't real and wasn't forever. I had to use something different than physical eyes in order to see the spiritual perfection that God gave me. I needed to look with my heart, with my love for God -- with the spiritual senses.
As I prayed I realized that God had never sent evil into my life. He never could cause disfigurement in His creation. Even during the whole time that I'd seen malformation and felt pain, I'd really been God's perfectly spiritual image. As real as those problems seemed, God's care for me was what was real. I learned in prayer that I needed to look at myself through His eyes. So that's simply all I did.
A few days later, while I was getting dressed, I saw that I was healed! Both feet were identical and perfect. I'm grown up now, and that's the way they've stayed.
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," said Christ Jesus (Matthew 5:48). Jesus confronted as much illness, hatred, indifference, and other evils for himself and others as anyone might be able to stand. But his message was that perfection is possible to understand and have right now. The words of Jesus form the basis for Christian Science, which was what I was learning to practice when I had this healing. Christian Science was discovered in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy.
Admitting that you are spiritually good -- understanding you are, in fact, the expression of God -- helps you feel and see more good. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which Mrs. Eddy wrote, says: "The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, -- perfect God and perfect man, -- as the basis of thought and demonstration" (p. 259).
God is good, and He definitely does not send or allow evil in your life. God loves you dearly. To thinking that is closed to God, sickness may seem painful and permanent. But when you look at yourself "through God's eyes" (with your spiritual senses) and glimpse the flawlessness He gave you, evil isn't even in the picture. That is a view of reality. It won't ever change, and it can't be taken away.