Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling
July 30, 2014
You may recognize that phrase from the 91st Psalm. It’s not just a nice saying – it’s a law of God. And one that we must gain a deeper understanding of, in order to effectively stop, and even reverse, the Ebola outbreak in Africa. A recent newspaper update addresses the rising concerns there, as well as the need for calm.
The promise of the 91st Psalm is that the recognition of and reliance on God – or “the Lord, which is my refuge” – will guarantee that “no evil shall befall thee.” Guarantee is a strong word, but the author of that ancient poem was convinced that anyone who hid himself “under the shadow of the Almighty” would find comfort and safety there.
Although scholars are not sure who actually authored this historic verse – David, Moses, or some other early composer – the writer surely had a clear sense of the willingness and ability of God to actively care for his children. And even though it’s in a book of Hebrew poetry, its lesson is available to all regardless of faith – or no faith.
As a model for healing and protecting prayer, the 91st Psalm directs us to start with the all-power of the divine, placing ourselves – and those we pray for – in the shelter of God’s mighty presence. Then, defining Him as our protector and foundation, we can realize all the ways in which His care sustains and maintains us. The promise is that “he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” That watchfulness is so complete that we can’t even stub a toe, let alone catch a disease.
Applying the message of this powerful Psalm to the events in Africa is an effective means of confronting the argument that Ebola is out of the control of man and God. Yet for centuries, people have turned to the promises in the Bible, including the omnipotence of God, to heal all kinds of disease, contagious or otherwise. Jesus’ many healings are especially inspiring and particularly instructional in their correlation between turning to our heavenly Father and being well.
What can you do? The first step, and one which the 91st Psalm strongly promotes, is to put down fear. It says, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” And 1 John concurs by stating that “perfect love casteth out fear.” (4:18) Turning to God who is perfect Love, restores a sense of peace and normalcy, enabling you to overcome any anxious sense for your own health, or that of others.
If you’re wondering whether your own small prayer wherever you are located, can be of benefit for those who are suffering someplace else, be assured that “to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.” (Science and Health, p. 494) It’s not your own power that heals, it’s God’s. Prayer acknowledges the infinitude and ever presence of divinity, and humbly expects good results.
As a member of the community of earth, those in other parts of the world are your neighbors. Your prayerful outreach on their behalf blesses all mankind. And we surely need that blessing now.
Here’s a great podcast about healing contagion. You might find some useful ideas to supplement your prayers.
Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link. If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.