An incapacitated man was sitting by the wayside begging when he saw two strangers approaching. As he looked up in hopes of a handout, one of the two instructed him to look at them.
The two men, Peter and John, were disciples of Jesus, and this was more than a passing request. I like to think of it as an invitation to see and experience a reality the man begging had not yet known – spiritual reality. Peter then commented that he wasn’t wealthy but would share what he had – which was Christian love, the healing love he himself had experienced from knowing the Christ. Peter then charged the man to stand up and walk, reaching out his hand to lift him up.
At that moment, the man’s feet and ankle bones became functional, and he was able to rise and move forward “walking, and leaping, and praising God” (see Acts 3).
What seems particularly remarkable to me about this account is the naturalness of the healing. Peter and John’s demonstration of God’s healing power did not include any preconditions or caveats – there were no material interventions, time was not a factor, nor did the man’s physical appearance factor in. Rather, they must have felt in their hearts something of the man’s true nature as spiritual, a loved son of God – the divine Love that gives all and only good to each of us. God, divine Spirit, created man (meaning all of us) in the perfect spiritual image of the Divine – whole, strong, and well.
In the Preface to the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” its author, Mary Baker Eddy, states: “Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or ‘God with us,’ – a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime, To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense], And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised” (p. xi).
How wonderful to realize that the divine influence which brings healing and health is present and revealing itself to us right now. It may not always seem like it, when we’re faced with distress or imperfection of some kind. But even then we can welcome this message of God’s presence and acknowledge all the good it includes. This empowers us to hold to the truth that only what divine Spirit creates is truly legitimate and active, and experience the naturalness of healing.
A few years ago a small flap of skin appeared on one of my eyelids. This didn’t make me very happy, and I had to wrestle with the thought that it might have been inevitable, as my mom had had a similar small skin growth on one of her eyelids for much of her adult life.
To combat these fears and find healing, I started to pray as I had learned through my study of Christian Science. First, I affirmed that nothing unrepresentative of God could exist or be present. Since God is entirely good and God is All, I could trust that everything in God’s creation must be desirable in function, activity, and appearance. If something was not, it could not remain in my experience.
Next I affirmed that as we are all made in the image of God, divine Love, there could be nothing ugly, unnatural, or extraneous about my identity. Nothing could be part of me that is not directly from God. Everything about God, good, is positive and useful; and God knows us not as flawed mortals, but as wholly spiritual, expressing the perfection, beauty, and order of divine Spirit. There is not even a miniscule exception to this fact.
As I prayed, my thought shifted from fear to assurance of Love’s perfection, presence, and care. I grew confident that divine Love alone was present with me, and that my identity could only include the loveliness of divine Spirit. In a week or two I noticed the skin nodule was gone, and it has not reappeared. (And I am happy to say that, as my mom steadfastly prayed, the growth on her eyelid also disappeared in her later years.)
Though prayerful persistence is sometimes needed, Christian healing is neither a mystery nor an arduous chore. It is the outcome of the natural activity of divine Love, revealing to us the bountiful goodness and love that is always ours as the cherished children of God.