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How is your health insurance?

The most important protection we can have is a growing perception of God's care.

From the August 17, 1992 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Are you troubled at the thought of not being able to afford adequate health insurance coverage? The desire for sufficient protection for ourselves and our family is certainly understandable, and that's why people frequently rely on insurance coverage. Yet while health insurance policies may alleviate certain concerns in the event of illness, they can't do anything about nagging fears that something may go wrong with our health. Wouldn't insurance that actually protects against such misfortune be a good investment?

Insurance that reduces vulnerability to sickness and disability does exist. It's the health protection of spiritual understanding that comes through a deep, living trust in Bible truths. Many have found it their wisest investment.

The Bible records timeless truths that emerged from people's experience in trusting the Divine in matters of safety and health. For instance, in his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes, "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. ..." The book of Psalms reassures us, "The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." And we read in Psalms also of the Lord "who healeth all thy diseases." The Bible tells us too about the effectiveness of prayer, pointing us to the means by which we can prove God's care.

Although the desire for financial security is normal in a modern society, fears associated with the inaccessibility of adequate insurance coverage are not necessary. They stem from the assumption that our welfare is subject to conditions beyond our control, and intuitively we know there's something unfair about that. It runs counter to the Bible's record of spiritual power over physical circumstances. Moreover, there are a great many witnesses today to the demonstration of protection and healing through spiritual means alone.

Our prospects for well-being are molded by what we believe governs us. Divine Providence demands that we accept one central authority—one God—who rules through omnipotent love and provides an environment of order and harmony, an environment in which no wires get crossed, no one gets hurt. That's a high standard to live by. But it's the most dependable one. Divine goodness and power are what the people of God in the Bible strove to demonstrate. As they learned to do this, they benefited greatly.

The opposite lesson they also learned was that when we get away from reliance on and worship of the God, things become confused and go awry. Without God as our all-encompassing authority, happenstance can easily seem the norm. In the absence of reliance on Him, we tend to let the ignorant senses of the body take over. They prompt us to accept accident, injury, sickness, and disease as inevitable occurrences we may fall victim to at any moment. But faith, reason, and spiritual understanding stand by to tell us we need not be victimized by these occurrences at all, because these evils, or errors—none of them God-created—have no intrinsic authority, and we can exercise control over them through divine power. This is an underlying message of Scripture.

What turns Scriptural assurance into sound reliable insurance that protects us is the effort we put into Christianly scientific prayer, prayer that lifts truth off the page and into our hearts and lives. Our ability to do this is implicit in Christ Jesus' words in the Gospel of John "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

To prove the possibilities inherent in this instruction, more than a cursory attitude toward Bible study is needed. Approaching Scriptural verse with a searching heart, a heart receptive to the Bible's underlying moral consistency and its broadest spiritual lessons, strengthens us. It reveals the true nature of God, as well as our ability to prove His power.

Christian Science helps us to discern that the God the Scriptures reveal is intelligent, caring, and all-powerful. He is Father and Mother, the infinite source of good, not of evil. He gives life; He doesn't debilitate it or take it away, for He is Life itself. He governs by His law harmony, not through whim or calamity. And the true nature of His creation, including man, is spiritual and perfect, because God is perfect Spirit.

Dependence on physical so-called senses in lieu of spiritual sense weakens our perception of God's care and of what health actually is. The word health is commonly used to describe little more than variable conditions of body and mind. Thus in sickness we try to do whatever we think will materially bring about wellness. Some seek to insure against the financial consequences of physical ills. Those who cannot afford to do so are likely to feel vulnerable. But this isn't the Bible's approach to health at all, because the Scriptures point to the beneficial, protective and healing effect of understanding man's relationship to the one God.

In its truest sense, health is a spiritual quality of God, which man, His image, always includes. We find health more consistently, then, as we properly identify ourselves as His offspring. Genuine health doesn't come and go any more than God does. As we let Him into our lives through humble prayer and a desire to express our real, Godlike nature more fully, we feel His presence as a powerful healing influence. The human system responds to this spiritual influence. Even grave illness will give way to it. Health in this higher, more promising context is not an uncertainty. It's not something to manipulate, repair, shore up, or cause to be. It already is as an omnipresent reality, an eternal, spiritual fact—and through disciplined, understanding prayer we learn to perceive it, identify with it, and manifest it.

Through her own success in proving the reliability of health by spiritual means, Mrs. Eddy came to this conclusion in her book Science and Health: "To calculate one's life-prospects from a material basis, would infringe upon spiritual law and misguide human hope. Having faith in the divine Principle of health and spiritually understanding God, sustains man under all circumstances; whereas the lower appeal to the general faith in material means (commonly called nature) must yield to the all-might of infinite Spirit."

Genuine health doesn't come and go any more than God does.

Over the years, members of my family have convincingly proved for themselves that a God-centered life is the most effective "insurance." I've seen healing through prayer often enough—healing of such things as influenza, broken bones, appendicitis, cancer, food poisoning—that health has become increasingly tangible to me as a spiritual quality. The same is true of safety.

Once I spent an evening praying on the subject of divine protection with such fervency that when I woke the next morning the comfort of that prayer was still with me. I felt it all the way to the office. As I was about to make a left turn into the alley behind my office building—something I often do—I hesitated, braked, and for an instant quietly held in a half-turn position—something I had never done before. There was no visible reason that I should do so, since the usual heavy traffic was absent. There were no oncoming cars at all. I felt as if everything stood still in a moment of timeless peace.

Suddenly a car came from behind, whizzed by on my left just inches from my front fender, swung into a bank parking lot, rolled past the teller's window in the wrong direction, and bounced off a curb across the back property line before it halted. As I watched, I felt completely at rest in the knowledge that God controls and preserves His creation and that nothing could be endangered or out of order.

The driver later explained that his brakes had completely failed, and that he had lost control of the car. I pointed out to him that he had actually had good control and had proved it by skillfully bringing his car to a halt without harm.

A collision and possible injury were avoided by the prayer that realizes God's protective presence. To me, this illustrates an important point. The bottom line is that the more receptive to divine care and control we allow ourselves to become, and the more we live in harmony with divine law, the more we're able to demonstrate genuine safety and health. And the more confidence we gain in a future that corresponds with omnipotent good. These are Spirit's "insurance benefits."

A spiritual perspective shows us that we're not trapped by circumstances into having a track race with lady luck. Neither are we trapped into going without proper care. Our decisions regarding our health and welfare can be made in practical response to Scriptural authority.

In a word, we possess the freedom to live a healthier life through a more Bible-based existence. This freedom is inherent in the godliness Paul speaks of in his first letter to the Corinthians: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."

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