As cases of swine flu appear in various nations, travel restrictions are being advised, and public health authorities in each country are taking steps they think are essential to protect citizens. Some news headlines are stirring up fear, and it's important to address concerns that the situation may mushroom into a worldwide pandemic. It's also wise not to ignore the condition, but rather to antidote these reports by responding vigorously with prayer.
The Bible provides antidotes for both fear and disease, and the 91st Psalm is an especially good resource. One passage addresses the uncertainty that can surround flu â€“ particularly if people don't necessarily know whether they've been exposed or how to be safe. Speaking of life under God's care, the psalm declares, "You won't fear diseases that strike in the dark or sudden disaster at noon" (91:6, Contemporary English Version). Under God's care, there is no time or place where darkness â€“ physical or mental â€“ can hide or induce disease.
The Bible makes this point when it says, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). In the presence of God, which is where all people â€“ you, I, everyone â€“ live, there is no darkness of sickness, disease, or danger. There's no need to accept the belief that certain countries where cases have occurred are in some way more dangerous than others or that some have purer environments than others. Prayer can recognize that all are loved and directed by God and live under the same light. This is the reality of our â€“ and everyone's â€“ being.
The world argues that we are material entities, each working our way through human existence, subject to whatever the world throws at us â€“ including germs, microbes, disease, contamination. But as Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, put it in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual" (p. 468).
Relying on that truth, "the scientific statement of being," changes everything, and reveals that each individual is divine Mind's idea, dwelling safely within the divine light of Mind. Since Mind is infinite, there is no "outside" to Mind, where disease can enter. Nor is there any place that is left out of God's kingdom, whether its name is Mexico, the United States, China, or any other nation on earth.
Since immortal Mind doesn't include evil of any kind, it follows that disease never had a foothold in God's creation. So there aren't certain sources of disease â€“ birds, swine, and so on. Nor is there a need to believe there are certain seasons when disease is to be expected â€“ for example, that colds are inevitable in winter, or allergies in spring and summer.
Another reason it's important to realize that God's creation doesn't include disease is that it helps determine what is real and what isn't. Given that God's creation "includes no evil nor pestilence" (Science and Health, p. 210), we aren't praying to be free of something that He made. (That would be impossible to do.) Nor is our prayer required to resist an evil entity that somehow crept into God's infinitely good creation. (This is also impossible, since He is omnipotent Love, against which evil is powerless.)
One other condition to address in prayer is the fear of other humans whom we may fear are contaminated by disease and may give it to us. Here's where prayer for the world â€“ for all people, including those who are sick and those who are endeavoring to halt the spread of the disease â€“ can be a blessing. In prayer we can affirm that each son and daughter of God is under His care and is guided by divine Love. We can embrace all people in God's love and recognize that each one is precious to Him. Even now, divine good is ever present and can bring each individual peace and health.
These efforts to lift thought toward the light that is God, the light in which we all dwell, can eliminate fear of the disease â€“ and the disease itself. In God's light, each individual is found to be whole and free, forever under His care.