'There but for the grace of God go I." If that's meant as a way of saying "Thanks, God, for not putting me in the hole some other person is in," then I'd have to ask: how flattering is it to accuse the creator of allowing someone else to be in circumstances that we ourselves would choose to avoid at all costs?
On the other hand, there's an underlying implication here that is good: that God's grace is an active influence that can keep us out of trouble. A power that can heal sickness, protect us from danger, restore what we've lost, redeem moral failings.
The idea that this kind of favor is possible for some of us but not for others is even more unthinkable concerning God than it would be concerning a good human parent. We are all children of God. All equally worthy of God's attention and love, and of the divine grace that heals, reforms, saves, redeems.
OK, then why do some people struggle and others thrive? Why are some chronically sick and others inevitably healthy? Why are some abysmally poor and others staggeringly wealthy? Why the apparent partiality to life's rewards, as well as a random visitation of trouble?
Such questions are based on an assumption: life is solely what we assess through seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling. Yet there is a view of life apart from this canvas on which we seem to play out the role of pauper or billionaire, care-giver or dependent, happy camper or misfit. There's a spiritual truth about each one of us. It has to do with who we are and never stop being - God's expression.
The spiritual view of ourselves involves a universal equality that assures both the better and worse off in this world, "You are blessed with perfect, divine sonship or daughterhood; God is your Father and Mother."
"In the image of God" is how the Bible describes the way in which we are made (Gen. 1:27). And by "the grace of God," who is divine Spirit, that image doesn't depend on any aspect of material worth or value. When we look past human labels (decrepit, loaded, orphaned, lucky, etc.), and instead see through spiritual perception (in which we never stop being the good image of our creator), evidence of a universal equality, forever complete, appears.
That is not to say that it's sufficient to claim such truths as abstract ideals - while we still remain poor, sick, unhappy, in our day-to-day lives. Knowing our identity as God's child is practical and powerful. Jesus proved this by healing people consistently.
For you and me, understanding our relationship to God begins to remove the painful struggle from daily living. Open your heart to this relationship and your own thought is altered. And this adjustment of thought brings changes. To the degree you more consistently express God's qualities of love, justice, peace, harmony, you'll increasingly experience these in your life, in countless ways. Coming to know God better, you'll also begin to lose feelings of discord, injustice, trauma, lovelessness, and so on, which are the unseen, mental causes of so many troubles.
The healing effect of Spirit appears first as a shift in the thinking of the individual. It can come to anyone. At any time. Anywhere. Mary Baker Eddy's "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" says: "In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as 'a very present help in trouble.' Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals" (pgs. 12-13).
I have often found spiritual healing by becoming conscious of my relationship to God. But I have had to learn, and relearn, that God's giving is "impartial and universal." That is, God heals me because He loves all, including me.
One time I was having a bad skin reaction. I understood that God, being universal good, could not cause this for me. I prayed for healing by holding to that spiritual understanding. But I found it necessary to remember that God allowed none of His children to experience such a condition. And that was the mental shift required to bring an immediate cessation of the entire condition. When I saw the total truth that God is good, I saw myself proving a fact that applies to everyone.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society