God's will and predictions about disease
FROM time to time public attention is focused on one disease or another. A new malady appears, or ideas about an old one change. Or an illness is discussed at length because it is associated with a public figure. Then it's hard to escape descriptions of the course the disease is supposed to run, the kinds of people thought to be at risk, and the percent of the population that, it is predicted, will be affected. Though well-intentioned, such discussions can stir anxiety. After all, they in effect predict that an intelligent evil proceeds relentlessly from one (vividly pictured) state to another until a certain number of people are victimized. This view may appear very convincing to the physical senses, but it is certainly not God's view of His creation. Since God is infinite good, as the Bible reveals, His will for man must be good. This means that although evil can seem quite fearsome, it has no God-given authority to emerge out of the past, develop in the present, or dominate the future. This is not just a theological point of little relevance to a world faced with hardships. Through Christian prayer we can find that God's will is good, and His power superior to every ill. The feeling of injustice we sometimes experience when hearing that ``one in three people will contract x disease'' may well represent more than gloom over what is presumed to be inevitable. It may point to the influence of our innate spiritual sense, urging us to protest such dark prophecies on the grounds that they do not belong within the divine plan. We may believe that we're frail creatures beset by very real trials from which we hope that God will rescue us. But His power far exceeds even this expectation. In His sight the menace we fear has never possessed substance or impetus at all. God, divine Love, brings to pass only works of love. We can, and inevitably must, put off the belief that we are vulnerable physical beings, separated from Him, for the realization that we live as His wholly spiritual likeness. Among those things that Paul found u nable to separate us from the love of God are both ``things present'' and ``things to come.'' 1 Knowing ourselves to be inseparable from Love, we see that nothing in the past, present, or future can truly harm us. Yet if sin has been a determining factor in some disease we're confronting, the knowledge of man's true being must be actively demonstrated in our lives through moral and spiritual regeneration. Following a mandatory physical exam at the university where I was studying, I was told I had a condition considered preliminary to a serious disease. More tests were advised. Unpleasant pictures and gloomy statistics associated with this disease flashed before my eyes, and I wondered if the future for which I'd been preparing academically would come to pass. I decided to have no further examinations--not through blind fear or negligence but because, as a Christian Scientist, I understood health to lie deeper than the fleshly state to which the senses might witness at a given moment. As the ministry of Christ Jesus indicated, man's wholeness is derived from his unity with God and is expressed in sound health when individuals ascribe full authority to Him. To examine and take at face value a physical condition would be to bestow upon matter power it doesn't in herently possess, but which fear and misplaced dependency could lend it. I prayed to understand more deeply that my health depended directly on God, not on matter, sound or unsound. I turned from visualizing abnormal internal developments and declared with the Psalmist, ``The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.'' 2 I became increasingly convinced that God's will had impelled my desire to be of service, and that He never would support disorder and decline. During the almost twenty years that have now passed, the predicted malady did not appear, but much of the spiritu ally based good I had learned to claim as my heritage did appear. Through humble Christian prayer we can challenge predictions that disease will overtake us or others. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, declares: ``Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.'' 3 1 See Romans 8:38, 39. 2 Psalms 138:8. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 393.