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Listening -- and hearing

One can't read the Bible for very long without noticing the importance it places on listening for God's direction. Christ Jesus said simply, ''Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.'' n1

n1 Luke 11:28.

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While it is quite possible to receive God's direction so very clearly that there is absolutely no doubt about what we should do, often it seems to be hidden away among a lot of contradictory but equally valid arguments. (Wouldn't it be great if all the arguments coming to us were neatly labeled ''From God'' or ''From Some Other Place''?) We might feel as though most of the time it doesn't make much difference whether we knowingly respond to God's direction or to our own sense of what's right - until, that is, we find ourselves faced with a situation where something much more than the usual human sense of things is needed.

Faced with a ''biggie'' - like the potential or actual loss of our job, home, health, or companionship - what we've learned from the Bible inspires in us a more urgent desire to listen to God. Even more than that, we feel an imperative need to hear Him. But, perhaps in the intensity of our anguish and fear, His voice seems indistinguishable; we listen - but don't hear, and wonder why. Yet His voice is always clear, and we can hear it even in the most challenging circumstances.

In a sense, the very fact that we are trying our best to listen is hearing Him. Hearing Him is being aware of Him; responding to His ever-presence; recognizing, however faintly, that He is ''a very present help in trouble.'' n2 Hearing Him begins with receptivity. Admitting His thoughts into our consciousness brings peace, order, dominion - and culminates in healing. But to admit His thoughts we must, as the psalm goes on to say, be still. We must silence with authority the fears and ''what ifs?'' and all the arguments that would flood in. We must ''know that (He is) God,'' the omnipotent source of infinite good, of all that excludes and destroys evil. When we do this, we are claiming our spiritual unity with ''the mind of Christ,'' n3 and, as Christ Jesus so often demonstrated, what is heard as a result of that listening doesn't just inspire with wisdom or solace from above. It heals.

n2 Psalms 46:1.

n3 I Corinthians 2:16.

''Sorrow is turned into joy when the body is controlled by spiritual Life, Truth, and Love,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Further on she says: ''To enter into the heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error.'' n4

n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m pp.14, 15.

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If we know enough about God to make us want to turn to Him, then we know enough to make us receptive to His solution. When we silence the fears and arguments that say a complete and fully satisfying solution is not possible, and give His allness the preeminent place in our consciousness, we'll see that it's possible. The false sense of limitation that would obscure our true, spiritual identity as God's image will melt in some degree to reveal a higher level of order and dominion. The healing will show that we've watched, waited - and heard. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thus saith the Lord God. . . in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. . . Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.saiah 30:15, 21 m

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