It’s the time when advertisements are warning us to get ready for the flu season.
While at one time I would have resigned myself to getting ill, I’ve found a healthier way to respond now than I used to. I’ve learned about the potential of prayer to heal and avert disease, including the flu.
Growing up, I never qualified for a perfect attendance certificate in school. I was well acquainted with the inside of a doctor’s office and usually managed to catch whatever sickness was going around. By the time I was in college, I was taking several medications daily for a variety of chronic conditions. And yet the summer after I graduated, something changed. I dropped the meds. In the decades since college I’ve seldom missed work. I enjoy better health than I’d ever thought possible.
A book I read offered me a completely different view of health. I had grown up thinking sickness was normal and inevitable. The book – “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science – is based on the teachings of Christ Jesus and helped me see that health was normal. Becoming ill was not something I had to expect or go along with. I came to see that the relevant question – the question I needed to be asking on a regular basis – was not, “What is my body saying or doing?” but “What is God?” and “What is God doing?”
In a succinct “recap” answer to the question, “What is God?” Science and Health states, “God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love” (p. 465). This understanding of God has healing implications. Take, for instance the word “supreme.” It’s a word that’s often used more in a hyperbolic than actual sense, but Eddy is serious in her use of the word. God is the highest authority and power there is, and each of us is, in reality, formed and maintained by Spirit, Mind, God, as “very good” (see Genesis 1:26, 27, 31).
Christ Jesus understood this spiritual reality better than anyone else, and it enabled him to heal the sick quickly and decisively. The Bible says that after one such healing, the people “were all amazed, and glorified God” (Mark 2:12). Understanding even a little of what it means that God, good, is supreme offers potent ammunition against concerns that we walk through a world fraught with disease-agents. It allows us to challenge the validity of such thoughts and to honor God’s supremacy by understandingly expecting to experience health, not disease. Science and Health explains: “Disease is not an intelligence to dispute the empire of Mind or to dethrone Mind and take the government into its own hands. Sickness is not a God-given, nor a self-constituted material power, which copes astutely with Mind and finally conquers it” (p. 378).
One evening, after I had been introduced to the teachings of Christian Science, I felt the symptoms of a seasonal flu coming on hard. Winter was moving in on us. News reports and TV commercials were focusing on the flu. As the symptoms set in, it was tempting to think that there wasn’t much I could do to reverse the course of something that was already in motion. But I asked God to show me more about what He was and what He was doing at that moment.
As I listened, prayerfully, for direction, it occurred to me to consider what it meant that God is Truth. I saw that I could identify the flu symptoms not as facts, but as suggestions that disease could dispute God’s supremacy and be part of me. I began to identify myself as a spiritual idea formed and maintained by God, by Truth, and therefore inherently able to receive Truth’s healing messages. A true fact overrules a mere suggestion. Recognizing that divine Truth is supreme, I could reject the suggestion that disease was inevitable. Such a suggestion was invalid because it was not keeping with the nature of God.
I continued praying in this way, and by the end of the evening I was completely well.
Over the years I’ve experienced healing through prayer many times, and each time I’ve learned a little more of what God is, strengthening my conviction that God really is what the Scriptures show Him to be: infinite, supreme, divine.
Even a glimpse of this spiritual fact can bring healing.