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Listening for wisdom

April 18, 1988



MOST of us have felt at some point that we just didn't know what to do in a particular situation. Or we may have thought we knew what to do, but when we did it things didn't come out quite right. It's at times like these that we feel the need of a wisdom beyond our own to turn to. The Bible tells us that when Solomon, uncertain of his abilities, found himself succeeding his father David as king of Israel, he prayed for ``an understanding heart.''1 The New English Bible translates this as ``a heart with skill to listen.'' The book of Proverbs represents wisdom as saying, ``Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.''2

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It's evident from the Gospels that Christ Jesus continuously turned to the wisdom of his Father for direction. And divine wisdom is available to all of us now if we will stop and listen for it. It's constantly present and inexhaustible.

How can we become better listeners? In a word, through prayer. This doesn't mean praying for what we ourselves may desire but for the best and wisest and most effective solution to the particular situation. We have to be still to silence the clamor of conflicting viewpoints and listen for the pure intuitions that come from the one divine Mind, from the all-wise God. Then the thoughts we really need can get through moment by moment. We should also reject our own human assessment of ourselves either as faltering, inadequate mortals or as self-assured and independent ones. We're not really finite creatures living apart from our creator, dependent on personal wisdom or victimized by a lack of it. Our true identity is the very outcome of God, His spiritual likeness, inseparable from His wisdom. This may seem far from the reality to our current sense of things. Yet it is reality because God hasn't abandoned us. He maintains the well-being of what He has created.

It's important, then, that we see ourselves as enjoying an ongoing relationship to the one divine Mind. Then we won't be limited by the false conviction that we have a personal, material mind and will, either ignorant or heedless of divine wisdom. We'll more naturally respond to God's guidance, acknowledge its importance, continuously trust it.

I once got an inkling of this at a time when I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. But the desired results didn't follow, and I realized that wanting to have one's own way is more than human willfulness. It implies a mind and will outside of God, apart from divine wisdom. Then I began to listen much more humbly to be shown what to think, what to say, what to do, and soon afterward a completely different initiative opened up that solved the problem.

Christian Science invariably turns us to the divine Mind for the wisdom we need, and enables us to demonstrate the far-reaching impact of doing so. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded this Science, says: ``The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man. From this it follows that business men and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity.'' She says further, speaking of the Science of being: ``It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity.''3

So whatever our own walk in life may be, and however good we may seem to be at pursuing it, listening for divine wisdom and acting on it will help forward our own and others' well-being.

1I Kings 3:9. 2Proverbs 8:34. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 128. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE 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. Proverbs 3:5,6