It is not unusual to discover that evil sometimes comes disguised as kindness. Think of the fish that comes across a worm wriggling in the water, unaware of the lethal hook hidden inside. If the fish is desperate for food, is it cruel to push it away from that hooked worm?
Recent debates about euthanasia, or mercy killing, in the United States and Australia and some European countries, involve such hidden "hooks." People become extremely emotional over the issue, making calm and careful thought difficult.
There is no denying that a great number of people suffer terribly from disease, and that they, along with family and friends, wish to be spared further or worse suffering. No one with a heart would argue over this. For those with no religious faith or spiritual experience, options look particularly limited. Even people of great faith may have no strong sense of or experience with the power of God to heal.
Recently a book was published called Healing Spiritually (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1996). It presents cases of illness that were cured through prayer. One account involves a former New York City police officer whose legs had been severely fractured in a fall (see pp. 25-29). While he had escaped amputation, and had the finest medical attention available, he was barely able to walk and was in almost constant, severe pain. After twelve years of suffering, he was convinced that suicide was his only answer.
His wife had been a Christian Scientist all her life. She walked in on him at that critical time. Although he had long ago rejected Christian Science, she urged him to reconsider Christian healing instead of suicide. She gave him a copy of the textbook of Christian Science written by Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and asked him to seek in its pages an understanding of God and of his own relation to God. From her own experiences of healing, she knew healing was also possible for her husband.
The road was not easy for him. But after a while the insights into the Bible that Science and Health gives, and its illustrations of God's power to heal, began to speak to him. He studied both books intensively and began learning who God is. This freed him from pain. Not only that, he recovered the ability to move freely and became able to run three or four miles a day.
Other healings in the book include those of cancer, heart disease, tuberculosis, and degenerative back problems. They show that even in cases where conventional medicine had lost its ability to control pain or limit the progress of disease, a remedy was still at hand.
The Bible is the basis for everything Christian Science teaches. And the Bible is not a record of people praying for death; it illustrates the ability of prayer to awaken people to the life-giving power of God. Christ Jesus healed people who were gravely ill and on the verge of death, and he even raised those who were just plain dead. He never helped anyone die; he always revealed the life-saving power of God.
When Jesus' disciples failed to heal a young man suffering from symptoms of epilepsy, Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith. He then healed the young man (see Mark 9:14-29). Discussing this in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy noted: "Jesus never spoke of disease as dangerous or as difficult to heal. When his students brought to him a case they had failed to heal, he said to them, 'O faithless generation,' implying that the requisite power to heal was in Mind" (pp. 147-148). God is divine Mind. He makes us conscious of health and peace as real.
Evil has always tempted people not to turn to God. Evil in any form, sickness included, characterizes a belief that relying on the power of God is primitive, unrealistic, insane. Yet the evidence of spiritual healing is mounting. A renewed and restored life is certainly preferable to suicide or assisted death. A life that feels intimate with God. A life full of health and joy in living. The truth is still present to show us the way to find this life here and now-in our unity with God.
Suicide and mercy killing are not necessary options for freedom from pain and debility!