Have you ever considered yourself to be a rebel? Probably not. I’m guessing you’re the kind of person who respects your parents, listens to your teachers (most of the time), does your homework, plays by the rules. All good things.
And rebels? Well, they’re people who spend a lot of time in detention, yell at their parents, probably cut class, right?
Here’s another question for you. Have you ever been in a situation where everyone around you was doing something—making fun of some kid, for example, or gossiping about another person or cheating—and you refused to join in? Maybe you even tried to stop others from joining in. I’ve got news for you. You’re a rebel.
Being a rebel can be a good thing. It all depends on what you’re rebelling against. We certainly don’t want to rebel against God, good. In fact, we want to ally ourselves with God, to cling to Him with all our might. And if we’re doing that, we’re naturally going to rebel against what isn’t good.
Let’s consider some examples of rebels. If I asked you to think of people who are rebels, this person’s name probably wouldn’t come up, but he’s actually the most influential rebel the world has ever known. I’m talking about Jesus.
Jesus’ whole life was spent rebelling against circumstances most of the world took (and still takes) for granted. He rebelled against the belief that sickness is inevitable by healing people who felt sick. He rebelled against the idea that it’s natural for people to sin by showing that there’s no real satisfaction, no attraction, to living a life out of step with God. He rebelled against the assumption that death is inescapable by bringing the dead back to life. He rebelled against blindness, deafness, insanity, paralysis, lack, because he knew a good God would never allow such things to exist. He rebelled against the very laws of physics by walking on the water, by circumventing time. He was a rebel all right.
And not only that. He rebelled against other people’s opinions. Sometimes that can be the hardest thing to rebel against. Jesus was laughed at, mocked, and eventually crucified for what he said and did. But he stood his ground. His relationship with God was so indivisible that he couldn’t help but rebel against whatever was unlike God, regardless of what other people thought of him. He said this about his connection to God: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise”. 1
Here’s another example of a rebel you may or may not have heard of: Mary Baker Eddy. Mary Baker Eddy lived in the 1800s, a time when women didn’t have many rights or opportunities. Yet in spite of obstacles such as ill health, poverty, and public ridicule, she wrote books (her primary work is Science and Health), established the Church of Christ, Scientist (the Christian Science Church), started an international newspaper (The Christian Science Monitor), taught, lectured, healed. She understood, as Jesus did, that God is good and does not share His power with whatever is not good.
Look at a picture of Mary Baker Eddy sometime. She doesn’t look very rebellious. But, like Jesus, she questioned evil’s right to exist. And, like Jesus, she took heat for it. But she stood her ground.
Those two people changed the world. And many others before and after them have stood with them.
What about you? How can you foster your natural tendency to stand with God (good) and rebel against what isn’t good? Well, first, don’t assume that just because some challenge looks and feels very real, it is real and has substance. Human thinking tends to reason this way: I see this thing. Therefore, this thing exists. God must allow this thing to exist.
Jesus could not have thought that way. Otherwise, he would not have been able to heal. He would have just reasoned the same as everyone else:
“Oh, this person can’t walk. That’s really sad. End of story.”
“Oh, this person can’t walk. I wonder why.”
“Oh, this person can’t walk. What can I do to help him walk, through my personal effort?”
Instead, Jesus must have thought differently. He must have been so aware of God’s goodness and continuous presence that God was more real to him than the problem. You could say that his awareness of God exposed the truth. In her book Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy put it this way: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” 2
So the question becomes, are we going to believe in what we know and feel to be true about God, or believe in what things look like on the surface? The answer determines our effectiveness as healers and our rebel potential.
I’ll give you an example of a time when I had to answer this question. One of our cats had not been acting like himself. It was clear he didn’t feel well. Around this time one of our neighbors approached me and said that several neighborhood cats had been diagnosed with an illness that was not considered curable. Their owner had the vet euthanize them. This neighbor was warning me because she had seen our cat fighting with the other cats, suggesting that he might have been infected.
We’ve always prayed for our animals, so my husband and I got busy praying for this loved cat. But at the time it seemed so hopeless to me. A vet had diagnosed the cats! He said they couldn’t be cured! Our cat was sick! What could we possibly do?
But then the rebel in me came out, and I began to think differently. Instead of being mesmerized by the problem, I chose to focus on God and what I knew about Him. I knew very well that God would never make this cat sick or allow it to be sick. I knew that God loves His creation, and protects and shelters it.
I even got mad at the very suggestion that this cat (or any cat) could be sick. The question that began coming to me was “Who says?” Who says this cat is sick? Did God say it? Not according to the first chapter of Genesis where “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good”. 3 And if God didn’t say it, then it didn’t matter what anyone or anything else said, and this problem couldn’t have the power it pretended.
Mary Baker Eddy gives some direction to readers of Science and Health: “Instead of blind and calm submission to the incipient or advanced stages of disease, rise in rebellion against them”. 4 My husband and I worked to obey this instruction by keeping our focus on what we knew to be true spiritually, and mentally rebelling against what looked true. We prayed consistently. It wasn’t long before our cat was himself again, often greeting us from the roof when we came home each day. And the neighbors were able to see him well again, too.
So what do you think? How much of a rebel are you? Are you willing to stand up for God, for good? It’s not always easy. But if you really are a rebel, you don’t necessarily do what’s easy. You do what’s right.
John 5:19 ↩Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 476-477 ↩Gen. 1:31 ↩ Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 391 ↩