When, as a small child, I would get a cut or a scrape, my father would go for the iodine bottle. "The worse the medicine hurts, the sooner you will heal," he would say. And I often heard one version or another of the statement "You have to have the bad to appreciate the good."
While I did not see any logic in either of these attitudes, I accepted them, using another common phrase to explain them: "Well, that's life." It was not until I married a Christian Scientist and began to explore the teachings of Christian Science that I found I did not have to accept evil as a necessary part of life. This was a great relief, for I had had a lingering fear and distrust of God. If He was all- power and knew all things, why did He let so many bad things happen?
After I began to study the Bible, with the aid of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, I found that the traditional belief that evil forms some essential part of God's plan is not valid. Also, that we can heal as Jesus did.
Mary Baker Eddy, the author of Science and Health, searched for an understanding of God that would free mankind from evil. She wrote in her autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection, "From my very childhood I was impelled, by a hunger and thirst after divine things,-a desire for something higher and better than matter, and apart from it,-to seek diligently for the knowledge of God as the one great and ever-present relief from human woe" (p. 31).
By reading the Bible, searching the instruction of Christ Jesus, learning to pray, Mrs. Eddy disproved the supposed power of evil. She found that as she glimpsed there to be no other power but good, because God is good and is the only power, she was healed of the effects of a life-threatening injury. She subsequently discerned more fully that it was Jesus' understanding of God as infinite Love-with no admission of a conflicting force-that enabled him to heal the sick and raise the dead. As she confronted the long-standing theological assumption that evil has some God-bestowed purpose in the universe, she healed others consistently through prayer, proving that assumption incorrect.
Did Christian Science suddenly make my life easier and exempt me from having to face problems? The answer in part is no. But for nearly fifty years now, I have solved them over and over again through prayer, and I have been healed physically through prayer alone.
In my very first years of learning that God does not sanction evil, I went from frequent allergic and rheumatic suffering to experiencing almost constant health. When I do have physical difficulties, I find that as I love God more, and acknowledge His deep love for all of His creation, I gain healing more quickly than I ever did before I relied on God. And each time that I see illness or the effects of some accident disappear, my conviction grows that God is not distant but right at hand, holding His children in a state of perfection.
Beyond physical healing, we love each other more as we recognize God to be Love, as John said He is (see I John 4:8). Isn't it essentially true that physicians, legislators, and philanthropists all pursue good works because of their conviction that good should predominate? Physicists and other scientists must have faith that there are laws that govern the universe. As we appreciate more each effort of humans to improve their conditions, we are implicitly acknowledging the power of good, of divine Love, in the universe. We can give up cynicism, envy, and distrust of each other as we learn to trust God's goodness and watch for evidence of His spiritual laws, Christian Science, already at work.
We will all benefit from understanding that evil was never sanctioned by God and has no legitimate place in His, our, universe. The admission of this is the most effective, painless means of healing. It gives hope. It causes us to expect improvement and progress in every area of human existence. It's far better than iodine!
You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, at (www.tfccs.com).