Listening to God’s unerring direction
A Christian Science perspective: Turning to God for guidance brings help and harmony.
Have you ever thought about what it means to be open to God’s guidance? When faced with a decision that needs to be made, or a problem to be resolved, it’s not always easy to know what to do. Or, on the flip side, we may feel very sure of what should be done, only to find our efforts less than effective.
In Proverbs we read: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (3:5, 6). We learn in Genesis that we are all made in the image of God (see 1:26, 27). So trusting in our Father-Mother God’s guidance is actually very natural, just as a child would inherently trust a loving parent.
As omnipotent and omnipresent divine Love, God is certainly worthy of our trust. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the author, Mary Baker Eddy, states, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). Divine Love tenderly cares for all of its creation. As we begin to trust this, and humbly listen and silence our own opinion and human will, we find that Love washes away fear and a sense that we are personally responsible for everybody else. You might say, as a flower turns toward the sun, so we can turn to God, and thought blooms with inspiration as we are guided to right action.
I had an opportunity to prove this in a small way a few years ago. A bird had become trapped in an unused antique coal-fire stove in our kitchen. I could hear the fluttering sounds coming from the stovepipe, which had been blocked up with insulation. I had no idea how to get to this little bird. It was frantically trying to fly back up to the top of the chimney, where it had fallen in. I was briefly reminded of a prior situation in which I had found myself trying to rescue another bird – I had made a valiant effort to help, but to no avail. I came to realize later on that I had left God out of the picture completely, rather than turning to Him for guidance. That was a wake-up call.
Now, as my heart went out to this little one, so, too, my heart went straight to God. Remembering the parable Christ Jesus told about seeking the lost sheep (see Matthew 18:12-14), I realized that not only would God not allow one of His little ones to suffer or perish, He would also not fail to guide me so I would know what to do. My prayer was a conscious acknowledgment of this fact. Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). I saw that I too could strive to follow obediently and ably.
I sat and listened for God’s direction, and at each step, I quietly gave gratitude as I saw what needed to be done. Previously, I hadn’t known how to handle this situation, but I now felt impelled to remove the insulation inside the pipe and gradually open the damper, pausing periodically to quietly reassure the little bird. When I fully opened the damper, the bird immediately flew past me into the house. Again, I paused and listened for guidance. Soon I was led to hold a hat out for the bird to perch on so I could bring it to an open window, where it finally flew outside.
I felt such a deep sense of God’s love for all of His creatures. By being still and listening, and acknowledging God as an ever-present source of help, I was freed from the entrapments of doubt and fear, and a misguided sense of personal responsibility – and the bird was freed as well.
Although this was a modest incident, God’s loving guidance is available to us in more significant situations, too. We can all listen and turn to our Father-Mother God, right now. As the book of Isaiah in the Bible promises, “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” (30:21).