Horns honking, stampeding feet pounding, tires screeching -- such are the noises of impatience in our modern world. This harshness, drowning out all other sounds, would deaden our ears and grate on our nerves.
But is this cacophony all there is? What do we hear when we listen more acutely, consciously opening our ears to what is behind the jarring clamor? We can hear the gentle sounds of softly rustling leaves and flapping flags, the melody of voices in conversation, even the humming purr of a well-tuned automobile engine.
Listening acutely with our ears is certainly conducive to poise. But how important it is to do even more, to reallym listen! Much more than hearing aurally, real listening is being mentally willing and alert to accept what God is saying. Such listening, involving the continuous acknowledgment of man's permanent, invulnerable, and supremely real relationship with God, enhances our spiritual as well as our everyday welfare.
Just as jolting street sounds can hide the more harmonious undertones thriving beneath, chaotic conditions often make it difficult to believe that God is present and that our relationship with Him is indestructible. In these cases , we need to make a conscious effort to deal with what would separate us from God and our innate ability to hear Him. As we are told in the Bible, Elijah, after some initial wavering when faced by the hatred of his enemies, stood fast before the violence of the elements until he heard the "still small voice" n1 from God. We, too, can stand fast during a tumultuous experience, trusting God to give us the assurance, inspiration, and ability we need to listen, and to prove His presence.
n1 I kings 19:12.
Matthew records how Christ Jesus overcame blustering materialism. He decisively purged the temple of the noise and clutter of the money-changers and then healed the blind and lame who came to him. n2 At a previous time he had instructed his disciples how to pray, telling them, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." n3
n2 See matthew 21:12-14.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m Mary Baker Eddy n4 comments on this passage, writing: "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." n5
n4 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n5 Science and Health,m p. 15.
I recently had proof that we may have to deal firmly with and silence the clamor of the material senses in order to hear what God is telling us. My small daughter complained of an earache, and in her distress she began to cry continuously. I held her in my arms and tried to comfort her, but I couldn't.
From my study of Christian Science I knew that my daughter's true selfhood was perfect, harmonious -- God's beloved child. But I found it impossible to tell her of it or to think of it myself. I was becoming entangled in her distress. Yet I knew we both had to listen and know that God was with us.
Finally, I shouted above the sobs that all this was an imposition on our true selfhood. It was fraudulent suggestion that she and I were suffering, fearful mortals.
Realizing this, I then vigorously affirmed our eternal perfection and closeness to God. Suddenly it was no longer necessary to shout. I kept listening for the thoughts I knew would come directly from God. Soon I felt deep assurance and shortly the child fell asleep. I continued to listen and pray silently, and when my daughter woke up, no mention was made of the earache. It had been completely erased.
No matter what noisy situation faces us, we have the God-given ability to silence it and listen to what is true about ourselves, others, and the situation. Then dissonance of any sort progressively disappears before the harmony of God's perfect, spiritual universe. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Psalms 93:4