THE BIBLE HOLDS THE RECIPE FOR HEALING
The Bible contains the recipe for all healing. "The leaves of the tree
were for the healing of the nations."
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 406
The more you explore the Bible, the more opportunities there are to become acquainted with its rich resources for healing and spiritual growth. In fact, I've found a wonderful tool at www.bibleinayear.org that lets you sign up for daily e-mails of Bible passages so that you read the Bible through in a year. There are various options, including several translations, available. Reading the Bible through with a goal in mind such as learning more about the nature of God, finding God's promises, discovering what constitutes effective prayer, brings purpose and inspiration to the reading. God never turns down an opportunity to teach through His Word.
But have you ever wished that there was a "recipe" for healing, and that it came with a specific Biblical reference, chapter and verse, where instructions were laid out in plain language—"ingredients" clearly stated? Then we could all just follow that recipe and receive the healing we're seeking. The textbook of Christian healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, does clearly state, "The Bible contains the recipe for all healing" (p. 406).
Well, what inspires one person might not move another in quite the same way. Is there a way to read the Bible that will show us the power of the Word to heal, that can clear up contradictions, resolve ambiguities, and help us discover how to put the recipe into practice? Thankfully, the answer is a resounding, "Yes!"
Before finding Christian Science, I grew up reading the Bible and sometimes found comfort in its teachings. But at other times I felt condemned and afraid. I found myself wanting to remove certain parts of the text or at least rewrite sections to bring them into line with the God of love that Jesus revealed. There was a continual hunger to know the God that Jesus knew as Love, the God who was the source of healing rather than the source of discord and wrath. Like many others, I wanted a recipe for healing.
During my journey to gain a deeper understanding of the healing power of the Bible, I was introduced to Science and Health. I was intrigued to discover the first tenet of Christian Science: "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (p. 497). The word "inspired" struck me as the key to overcoming this dilemma I had with the Scriptures. Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of Christian Science was based solely on inspired study of the Bible, followed by efforts to prove the truth of what she was learning. She remarked: "The divine Science taught in the original language of the Bible came through inspiration, and needs inspiration to be understood" (Science and Health, p. 319). As I prayed, read, and sought that inspiration, new ideas came from familiar verses, deepening my love for the Bible.
Finding that spiritual inspiration when reading the Bible or hearing it read can sometimes seem a challenge, but I've found that taking a few moments to pray before beginning can be very effective. I often start with a simple prayer of petition, asking to be "taught of God" as John records God's promise to all His children in the book of John: "They shall be all taught of God" (6:45). Remembering God's promises increases my expectancy that God's Word will come alive with meaning as well as with power. Although God doesn't answer our every request simply because we ask, He does answer sincere prayer. The desire to know the true meaning of the Word of God opens our thought to fresh inspiration as well as healing results, as this message assures us in Isaiah: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (55:11).
As I've turned to the inspired Word of the Bible for healing of all kinds of challenges—physical, emotional, financial, relationship-related—I've come to understand more about this recipe for all healing. The ideas recorded in the Scriptures are not outdated, but current, relevant, powerful. And while it is a great help to be thoroughly familiar with its message through reading various translations and commentaries, God is always able to meet us where we are, whether we are new readers, have one well-loved copy, or have vast Bible resources at our fingertips.
One of the ideas that's helped me is to think of the Bible as a record of mankind's journey to understand the true nature of God and man. It begins in the first chapter of Genesis with a wholly good God and a complete and very good creation. Arriving at the end of Revelation, you find the same view of God and man in the description of a new heaven and a new earth. For me, everything in between, though certainly not a linear journey, is a record of man's spiritual search—a search for an understanding of the true nature of God and of God's creation. Every one of us has to make that journey on our own, but the Bible can serve as "the chart of Life" in this adventure (Science and Health, p. 24).
It's also helpful to read the Bible through the theological viewpoint of the people whose lives are recorded on its sacred pages. For example, the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath from First Kings, chapter 17, has Elijah seeking shelter from a woman who is preparing a last meal for her and her son during a time of famine. The woman tells Elijah that they will soon be out of food and she expects they will die. But Elijah, despite all appearances, tells her to fix a meal for him first, and then for her and her son, because God has promised that her meal and oil will not run out until the famine is over. This occurs as Elijah foresaw it. Now it might look as if God intervened, contradicting a material law and performing a miracle, showing special favor for this woman and her son. Or it can be read as a lesson on recognizing the present reality of the abundance God gives, and what that understanding brings.
Soon after this provision of oil and meal appears, the woman's son becomes ill and dies. She confronts Elijah asking if he's somehow killed her son as a punishment for her sins, since the prevailing view of that time was that God punished children for the sins of the parents (see Ex. 20:5). But the boy's ensuing healing suggests otherwise.
Elijah "stretched himself" over the child, and the child was revived. Isn't it possible that the stretching Elijah had to do had little to do with physical stretching and more to do with stretching his thoughts on God's healing power? Elijah cries, "O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?" (I Kings 17:20). He appears to be questioning the very nature of the Almighty. Would God really show His love and care for the widow and her son by providing for them, and then take the life of the son through illness? Perhaps Elijah was learning that what we call miracles are the natural action of God's All-might and mercy understood.
This account helps us see the nature and intent of God to do only good for His children and strengthens the theme of healing running throughout the Bible's pages. Elijah's questioning of theological norms, the nature of God and His will, leads to an answer that proved its validity in healing for that little boy.
Seeking inspiration as we read the Bible leads us to new ideas that uplift thought and bring healing into our own lives. The Bible equates the Word with Christ, timelessly voicing God's direction, compassion, and care for us in ways that consistently bring healing and restoration. The first chapter of the Gospel of John includes this concept, and verse 14 records: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." And in Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy uses an appositive to explain that the Word being "made flesh" means it is "rendered practical" (p. 182).
When I was struggling with overcoming the limitations associated with having a dad who was an alcoholic, I often wondered why God had "chosen" to place me in such challenging circumstances. Was God punishing me, and if so, for what? As I was desperately seeking an answer, a Bible verse came quite strongly to my thought. It was something Jesus said: "The Father hath not left me alone" (John 8:29).
At first the verse made me angry. I thought it might mean that God had been there, watching from afar, through all the things I'd suffered. If so, why hadn't He done something about it? But quite quickly, I found myself thinking of times when people other than my dad had done things for me that most fathers would have done for their daughters. There had been uncles, teachers, my older brother, and probably, most of all, my mom, who had stepped up when I needed support, guidance, and help.
Is there a way to read the Bible that will show us the power of the Word to heal, that can clear up contradictions, resolve ambiguities? Thankfully, the answer is a resounding, "Yes!"
I realized that the Christly message of that Bible verse was that God had indeed been there—in the good things—and had always been overseeing my well-being. The more I accepted that spiritual fact, the easier it was to let go of the resentment and anger I felt toward my dad, and to move on from self-destructive behaviors. The Bible had indeed supplied the recipe for my healing.
God is speaking to us through His Word. And as we become more familiar with the Bible's depths, we will find that its concepts surface in thought and come alive. css
FOR MORE ON THIS TOPIC
To hear Sarah Hyatt speak on this topic, tune in to Sentinel Radio during the week of November 21–27, 2009. For a listing of broadcast locations and times, go to www.sentinelradio.com. To purchase a download of this radio program, #947, on or after November 21, go to www.sentinelradio.com and click on Audio Download Store.