Sometimes they are small. For example, last summer my husband and I were returning home from Italy. It was an early flight, 6:55am. Sitting on the other side of me was a college coed. She let out a deep sigh. I asked if she was returning home from a semester abroad, having spent most of the night packing and saying good-bye.
Apparently glad we understood her situation, she began telling us about how wonderful her time in Florence had been. My husband asked, “So did you pick up any Italian?” She responded, “Oh, two or three but nothing really serious happened.” There was a pause in the conversation. Then at about the same time we all laughed recognizing that the answer had nothing to do with the intended question of learning the language.
But sometimes misunderstandings are larger and more pervasive, especially when we’re not familiar with the faith of others.
In the last week, I’ve read two articles that stated incorrectly that Christian Scientists are forbidden to choose any care but prayer or that they feel suffering is a divine will. Through the years I’ve also heard people say about my faith – that we’re the people who don’t go to doctors. Generally, a Christian Scientist’s first choice is to rely on prayer for healing because they’ve found it successful with past difficulties.
There is no biblical or church mandate to forgo medical intervention, nor do we believe that it’s God’s will that anyone suffer or die. A decision to rely on prayer comes from an understanding of Scripture as well as experience – not blind faith in God. God’s care continues under every circumstance.