A COURSE of action must be chosen.The implications could be far-reaching and the impact of different alternatives difficult to assess. What a comfort, then, to know that for any decision we can hear a divine directive. As the Biblical prophet said, ``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.''1 When alternatives seem too numerous or equally possible, we may question whether there really is a right course of action. We may resign ourselves to considering many possibilities with the expectation that if one doesn't ``pan out,'' we'll go on to the next, and the next, and the next -- until we hit upon something workable. This may seem like a harmless enough approach, but is such uncertainty necessary? It brings to thought the description of Satan as ``going to and fro in the earth, and...walking up and down in it.''2Skip to next paragraph
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In the Old Testament, ``Satan'' does not refer to a distinct figure but to that which obstructs or opposes. We may sometimes encounter obstruction and opposition when trying to make a decision. Nagging doubts, resistance, or reaction may cripple decisive action. We may end up going to and fro, up and down, from one course of action to the next, finding none satisfactory.
But we can stop vacillating and start praying to know God's will in any given situation. Part of the definition of will in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy3 is ``the might and wisdom of God.''4
God's will is the ever-present law of good operating in our lives. It springs from His infinite intelligence and manifests His supreme power, enabling us to overcome obstacles and to find a healing resolution to problems.
But to know this divine will, to realize its presence and trust its goodness, we must turn away from personal will, which assesses troubles only on the basis of human observation and knowledge. And it draws on human methods for resolving those problems. Human will, closed to divine direction, can foster confusion and indecision, the going to and fro. It can blind us to the creative and wonderfully appropriate ways in which the divine will, ``the might and wisdom of God,'' can resolve a trouble. If we're busy looking at the menu of human knowledge and methodology, we're hardly in the frame of thought needed to see the feast already at hand. Our to-and-fro thinking culminates in trial and error behavior rather than spiritual perception and focused action.
God, divine Mind, is always feeding consciousness with the facts that, when brought to bear on a particular situation, will bring decisive action and practical, healing resolution. In truth, each of us is the very image of the one Mind, inseparable from its wisdom. To begin to glimpse this in prayer, to identify ourselves from this higher spiritual standpoint, is to yield to the one Mind and its healing solutions. Christ Jesus, the quintessential problem-solver, heard and heeded his Father's will alone. As Mrs. Eddy points out, ``He claimed no intelligence, action, nor life separate from God.''5 The result was that his solutions to human ills were focused and effective.
We'll find solutions to our needs as we silence the to-and-fro thinking of human will and subordinate human planning to the unvarying wisdom and might of divine direction. As our thoughts become a clearer transparency for divine wisdom, the human intellect becomes a tool rather than an obstruction of the divine will. We silence the skepticism that might question the sometimes unexpected yet infinitely wise approach of the divine. And human methods are transformed as we trust the might of God's will to overcome whatever would block the divine path.
Even if we make a mistake in our effort to hear and heed our Father's will, we can find comforting reassurance in the verse from Isaiah quoted earlier. As The New English Bible translates it: ``If you stray from the road to right or left you shall hear with your own ears a voice behind you saying, This is the way; follow it.'' The sincerity of our desire to follow God's will, coupled with prayer, will enable us to discern the appropriate direction, or redirection, of our efforts. Bringing our thoughts and actions into closer compliance with divine direction, we find effective, healing resolutions to the challenges at hand.
1Isaiah 30:21. 2Job 2:2. 3The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4Science and Health, p. 597. 5Ibid., p. 136. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path. Psalms 27:11