To google, or not to google? That is the question. At least, it was for me recently when a friend mentioned some alarming symptoms of a physical condition she was dealing with. What she told me was so unusual and concerning that the first thing that went through my head was: What could have caused that? With the question came a strong impulse to do what I always do when I need information quickly: google.
I’ve been tempted more than once to launch the Google app on my phone in response to a mysterious illness or some other alarming problem. I know lots of people who have been. Sometimes, that temptation comes from fear—a fear that we hope Google will alleviate by telling us we don’t have any reason for concern. Other times, like in this case, the thought that was bugging me was one that said: If you don’t know what she’s dealing with, how can you pray effectively?
I asked myself: Is googling going to help me pray most effectively?
Even though my friend hadn’t asked me to pray for her, I knew I needed to address my own fear and to be sure that I was allowing only the truth about God, divine Love, and His beautifully loved creation to be present in my thoughts. This goes hand in hand with Mary Baker Eddy’s instruction in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Suffer no claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought” (p. 390). To me, this is a reminder not to let even the smallest suggestion of evil get a foothold in my thinking—whether that evil seems to come in the form of something I’m experiencing, or something I see in someone else’s life.
In the rest of that passage, Mrs. Eddy gives helpful directions on how to do this: “Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin. You have no law of His to support the necessity either of sin or sickness, but you have divine authority for denying that necessity and healing the sick.”
I asked myself: Is googling the symptoms my friend shared with me going to help me dismiss the suggestion of evil—in the form of a physical problem—most effectively? Is it going to help me feel more convinced of the reality of God and the total authority of His law?
The answer to both those questions was no, but still, that fear of not knowing what I should specifically be praying about kept surfacing. This, of course, is the medical approach: that in order to treat a problem, you need a diagnosis. But that model is also based on a material, rather than a spiritual, framework. It begins with a “real” material problem, in a material body, that needs a material treatment in order to be dealt with.
Christian Science, on the other hand, explains that the world we live in is fundamentally mental. That we are spiritual, not material. And that every problem exists solely in thought and is addressed in thought as we understand more of the allness of Spirit and the total purity of Spirit’s creation, including us. This brings healing.
So when it comes to effective spiritual treatment, we actually have something better than any search engine. In every case, we can ask God what we need to know—how to pray, what to pray about—and be led to the exact ideas we need to find freedom.
If I really wanted to be helpful, it was God I needed to ask for the right ideas—not Google.
Frequently, in my own life, I’ve found that these ideas help me deal with whatever the underlying issue seems to be, rather than the symptoms, which often seem to be a distraction, leading away from what really needs addressing. It made sense, then, that the same held true for praying about the situation with my friend. If I really wanted to be helpful, it was God I needed to ask for the right ideas—not Google.
The impulse to search for an explanation of the symptoms left me as I opened my heart to God and prayed to hear whatever I needed to pray about. The idea that came was so simple: to understand better that there is only one cause (God) and His perfect effect (man). I let God show me why this was true and what that meant for all His children. Pretty soon, I didn’t feel afraid for my friend anymore and all the symptoms faded from my thoughts. The next day, I found out that she’d seen a complete healing.
I’m grateful for the instant access Google and other search engines give us to a web full of information. But not all of that information is correct. So it’s important to check multiple sources, and to evaluate the truthfulness of those sources. All the more reason to avoid your search engine when you need accurate information about a health issue you’re praying about. God, being Truth, is the ultimate authority on everything we need to know in order to be effective healers.