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Listening that heals

A friend and I had a bad misunderstanding that left our relationship in need of repair. But she was patient enough and considerate enough to listen to my explanation. Listening helped to mend the rift. Before long things were fine.

In a way, her listening hinted at the effect that another kind - a deeper kind - of listening can have. The Bible speaks of the ''still small voice'' of God. Is this a voice now silenced? Not at all! And when we, through prayer and spiritual growth, learn to listen to this divine direction, we catapult the art of listening into a whole new dimension, one in which healing quite naturally takes place as a result of our hearing and obeying God's guidance.

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In terms of sheer noise, the voice of God, Truth, isn't in competition at all with the sirens, blasting radios, and air hammers rattling our windows. The messages from God - that all is well, that we are loved, that health is sustained by Him - these messages cut through all the blaring sounds whenever and wherever we prayerfully, quietly, turn to Him for guidance and healing. He is Truth and He is Spirit. He is the source of all genuine health and well-being and wisdom.

Where before we may have been unfocused and confused, once we've turned to God in prayer we find that, in Bible language, ''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.'' n1 And we feel, actually experience, clearer assurance and direction, greater warmth, sounder health. How could the God who creates and loves us possibly want anything else for us, or impart a message of anything less!

n1 Isaiah 30:21

In order to listen mentally and hear the voice of Truth there's a certain clamor that needs to be silenced. It's not the clamor of motorcycles and marching bands, to be sure, but the inner clamor, the mental static of fearful, worrisome thinking. This is what would, if it could, block out God's thoughts. It's what really needs to be shut out and thus silenced.

Isn't this what Christ Jesus, that supreme listener - and healer - was doing? He rejected for himself and others assertions of fear or grief and listened instead to the comforting assurances of well-being coming from God.

A good example is his healing of Jairus's daughter, who had died by the time Jesus arrived at his house. A crowd of mourners had gathered. There was weeping and wailing. But he ''put them all out,'' n2 silenced the clamor, and then demonstrated the spiritual truth that heals. The shutting out of the people is symbolic of putting out the materially based thinking they were exhibiting. In so doing, Jesus enabled Jairus's family to perceive for themselves something of the good news always being imparted to man by God. The good news we can all hear is of God's infinite power and goodness and of man's perfect status as His spiritual image.

n2 Luke 8:54.

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Mary Baker Eddy, n3 a modern-day follower of Christ Jesus, writes, ''Spirit, God, is heard when the senses are silent.'' n4 But, like any other skill we would want to perfect, such listening takes practice.

n3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 89.

If we feel like we've managed to slam the door on those negative trains of thought, but don't hear any God-imparted messages coming in their place, what then? Perhaps we've overlooked one of the simplest ways God speaks to us. Turn to the Bible, the Psalms for example, or one of the Gospels, or turn to the other book just quoted from, Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm. In quiet, prayerful consideration, even the most familiar passages come alive with fresh meaning. Then, in some way, we hear God saying to us anew that all is well , that we are loved, that health is sustained by Truth. We hear whatever message we may be in need of.

Turning to these books isn't the only way to do the job, but it starts us in the right direction. It helps establish how we're to do our part: to listen. And there is never any doubt that God is always doing His part: imparting the very message needed to bring healing. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I will hear what God the Lord will Speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints. Psalms 85.8

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