I was feeling ill with flu symptoms and could hardly wait to get home so I could lie down. As I headed home I decided to pray, to turn to God. That is something I’ve found helpful and healing when I’m afraid, or I’m not feeling well, or I need guidance.
My prayer didn’t start out very well. I began by telling God I felt so sick that I wasn’t going to be able to come up with anything very inspired. In other words, that my prayer might be pretty lame.
I was surprised when I heard this message in my thought: “Why don’t you stop repeating to yourself how bad you feel?”
That sounded like something I could do, so I stopped telling myself – and God – all about the problem. By the time I got home 15 minutes later, I was completely healed. I didn’t go to bed until nighttime, because I didn’t need to. I was completely free.
This healing reminded me of something Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, says in her main book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “All disease is the result of education, and disease can carry its ill-effects no farther than mortal mind maps out the way” (p. 176).
“Mortal mind” is another name for the carnal mind, which Paul in the Bible calls “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). It’s the counterfeit of the one true Mind, God. After I stopped focusing on how bad I felt, I was able to see that the carnal mind had no legitimate power to map out the way of sickness. Instead I could choose to refuse to go along with it, to instead let the divine Mind, which is entirely good, guide my thoughts. In my case it involved not rehashing the problem.
Underlying my refusal to agree with sickness as the inevitable course of things was the conviction that God’s love for me – and for all of us – includes the right to be free, to be healthy. In the book of Genesis in the Bible, it says that God made everyone in His image (see 1:26, 27). As God’s children, or spiritual expression, we reflect the strength and power of the Divine. We are the opposite of vulnerable.
This spiritual reality means we don’t have to mentally go along with sickness, but instead can claim our God-bestowed freedom. This isn’t done through willpower but through leaning on God’s presence and power.
Mrs. Eddy was a devoted follower of Jesus. Jesus never accepted sickness as having validity or power. It didn’t matter what the situation was, whether a man with a withered hand, a man who was paralyzed, or a woman who had a fever. In each instance Jesus protested against mortal mind’s unjust sentences of illness and injury and showed that God’s healing power could be tangibly felt. As a result, the sufferers were healed.
The following passage from Science and Health describes the way Jesus healed: “It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, – of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love” (p. 12).
Even though I am certainly not healing to the degree that Jesus did, I do take his teachings to heart and try to follow him. We all can do this! Jesus promised that if we believe in him we will do the same works he did (see John 14:12). We can expect to experience more healing as we honestly put his teachings into practice.
Our own “deep and conscientious protests of Truth” can take many different forms. Our prayers don’t have to be elaborate. But being willing to let the divine Mind inspire us, to replace dark thoughts of sickness with the light of Truth, can make a healing difference. Our prayerful protests on the side of God, good, defeat the darkness.
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