THE other day, while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, I happened to overhear one woman telling another about a report she had just seen in a magazine. According to her, on any given day in North America alone, millions of people suffer with back pain in some degree. I couldn't help thinking about a remedy that is always available--one that does not involve having an operation or becoming dependent on pain-killing drugs.
The remedy I'm talking about is the healing power of Christianity that Jesus practiced and that is explained in Christian Science. Its teachings make practical the divine method of deliverance referred to in Christ Jesus' words ``Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'' 1 The study of divine Science shows us how to heal from a purely metaphysical standpoint, through following the Master's example.
As one studies this Science with a humble, open mind, with consecration, the way of healing through spiritual means becomes clear. It is important to realize that what one refers to as a physical condition is actually the objectification of thought. And so as one purifies, or spiritualizes, his thinking, it naturally follows that the body becomes more harmonious.
Because the body is an expression of thought, the great need is for a change of mental standpoint. Through prayer we need to gain a correct, spiritual view of man as the image of God. In other words, we need to realize that sickness or sin of any kind is not a part of our real selfhood made in God's likeness. The spiritual concept of man is basic, and this is why it is helpful to go back time and again to the Bible record that man is made in God's image.2 Accepting the premise that God is perfect Spirit, as the Bible teaches, we realize that the creations of Spirit can only be spiritual, perfect. And this is the reality of our being, despite appearances to the contrary.
A person might be thinking, ``But I've had back trouble for so long. Nothing will help me.'' Yes, there is something. Chronic disability and pain are not beyond the reach of Christ, Truth, as Jesus' healing work illustrates. For example, the Gospel of Luke tells about ``a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.'' 3 She was completely healed.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,--neither in nor of matter,--and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well.'' 4
The last one hundred pages of Science and Health are devoted to healings that resulted from studying this book. Among those wonderful experiences is a healing of severe back pain.5 Christian Science has lifted countless thousands out of painful physical conditions.
As one learns that man, created in God's own image, is the perfect expression of the one divine Mind, it becomes clear that man must be spiritual and harmonious--that he cannot, in reality, be impaired in any way. He must function perfectly because he is governed by the one God. No matter how real it appears to be, infirmity has no true existence in God's sight, because God never made it.
The need is not to ignore sickness but to turn thought away from the view of man as material and diseased and toward the understanding that he is actually spiritual and perfect right now, untouched by suffering.
In proportion as we make this Christlike understanding the basis of our prayer, we are bringing thought into accord with Jesus' command ``Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'' 6 And this results in healing. 1 John 8:32. 2 See Genesis 1:26. 3 Luke 13:11. 4 Science and Health, p. 14. 5 Ibid., pp. 616-617. 6 Matthew 5:48. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17