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God speaks--are we listening?

THE battery was dead. On that cold, storm-darkened day I had inadvertently left the lights on for several hours. My car made one final frozen whimper, then lapsed into total defeat. Over the years, however, I had learned to rely on God for help in any situation, whether major or minor. Stranded downtown with no service station in the area offering the help I needed, and realizing that nightfall was approaching, I silently cried, ``Where were You, Father, when I needed to be reminded not to do such a foolish thing?'' Even while the words echoed in my head, it was becoming clear to me how overcrowded with concerns my thought had been all day. Distracted by demands, I wondered if I would have heard a divine message if it had been announced by a trumpet! I was just too busy to listen.

When the Word of God was spoken by Christ Jesus centuries ago, multitudes heard because they were willing to listen. Many hungered for spiritual truth enough to make the effort to hear it. Lives were lifted, illnesses healed, lack removed.

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God speaks to mankind now as surely as He did then through the Christ, through the universal divine influence in human thought. His message of peace and healing is not silent today but present and active. Mary Baker Eddy1 writes, ``Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.''2 The question is, How do we listen?

When responsibilities race through our heads like a thundering stampede, is it possible to hear God's direction? If we truly yearn to hear, yes. We need to be willing to turn away from the rush of anxious, pressured thinking, no matter how insistent it may be. We can do this and be humbly receptive to what the Christ is telling us.

The divine message always corresponds to God's character, which is totally good. From the Bible we can learn that God is Spirit, that He is Love, that He is a God of truth. We might say He is Truth itself. Divine Love conveys ideas charged not with fear but with all the tenderness and gentleness that God's infinite love includes. As omnipresent as their source, these divine ideas can come to us whenever we are willing to turn resolutely away from the congestion of daily pressures and listen in prayer. Divine ideas may not come as a voice speaking, but their spiritual impulse breaks through fear and distress, bringing God's quiet healing touch into our experience.

There didn't seem to be much hope for an easy solution on that stormy day when my car wouldn't start. Before making a decision about what to do next, I took a few moments to acknowledge that God does speak to His children, and humbly to establish my own ability to do a better job of listening. Quietly the thought came to try starting the car once more. I did, and it started immediately. The problem, with all its potential for time-consuming inconvenience, vanished.

Christian Science does not trivialize God's help by having us focus only on every little personal predicament. The world's great need for direction today in the most profound matters compels us to look outward. But Science does declare that God's help is present in any situation, large or small, making itself known to anyone willing to silence the confusion of fear, doubt, and diversions and to listen quietly in prayer. Through the Bible, God reveals how clear His trustworthy communication can be: ``I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.''3

God speaks to us with thoughts of Christly comfort right where we are. Each of us, in his true being, is God's spiritual likeness, inseparable from Him, cared for by Him. His thoughts reveal this in the most practical ways. They do not condemn, but heal and save.

1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332. 3Isaiah 45:19. The Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine, contains more articles about God's power to heal. 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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