Daily, and at times like now when the news is full of epidemics and contagion, many turn to the Bible for inspiration and comfort.
In Isaiah 59:19, we read, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
We read of many instances of contagious diseases (often called “pestilence” in the Bible) and plagues being stopped in their tracks (e.g. Numbers 16). Rather than feeling helpless and hopeless in the face of overwhelming dire predictions, we have many assurances that we can turn to God for our protection, i.e. “I will…strengthen that which was sick: they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid” (Ezekiel 34:16, 28).
I think that perhaps the most sought-after comfort, though, is the 91st Psalm, which begins, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” It continues later on: “Surely he shall deliver thee… from the noisome pestilence. …Thou shalt not be afraid…for the pestilence that walketh in darkness. …Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
Surely Jesus felt the assurance that he dwelled in the secret place of the Almighty; that he lived, moved, and had his being in God, as we are told we do also (Acts 17:28).
When he healed people of leprosy, considered to be a contagious condition, he was not afraid to reach out and touch them. He was living out what we read in Psalm 56:4, “in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” In Luke 7:21, we find that Jesus “cured many of their infirmities and plagues.”
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, who was an avid, life-long student of the Bible, saw that “the history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting power bestowed on man by this heavenly Father, omnipotent Mind, who gives man faith and understanding whereby to defend himself, not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 387).
She also saw the wisdom of conquering the fear which leads toward disease, rather than away from it. She said, “The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family. It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought. A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one hastens to get it. A minutely described disease costs many a man his earthly days of comfort” (ibid p. 196).
We would all do well to keep thought focused on Psalm 91 or other comforting angel thoughts from God, rather than the dim pictures we’re constantly being bombarded with. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isa 26:3). Then maybe we’ll be able to say with Isaiah (14:7), “The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.”
Paula Broock is a member of the Christian Science Church, Brookings. To learn more of Christian Science, visit our church Sunday mornings at 11 or Wednesday evenings at 6; our Reading Room in our church building at 429 Pine St., (open Monday's and Wedndan's from 1-3 p.m.); or check out our local website, cscbrookings.com.