HELPFUL information, accurate information, necessary information--how do we get it? Of course, there's no shortage of information in this day and age. It's seeping through the cracks and flowing over the top everywhere we look: advertising, polls, surveys, opinions, reports, inquiries. We don't have to search for it--it'll find us, thank you!
The problem is that with so much information, it can be difficult finding the right information. But this isn't new. In the Bible, for example, the Syrians planned to attack the Israelites. But God warned Elisha, and he in turn warned the king of Israel. II Kings tells us that as a result the king ``saved himself there, not once nor twice."
The king might not really have wanted to hear Elisha's news. But he did listen, and he saved his men from harm and the Syrians from working evil. The king knew the authority behind Elisha's information and accepted its reliability because he trusted its source. That source, of course, was God. In this and in many other instances, the Bible illustrates that God--far from holding man at arms' length--lovingly gives us the guidance and direction we need.
It's natural to think of God in terms of caring, provision, and protection. Christian Science affirms the Bible's declaration in First John that ``God is love" when it uses Love or divine Love to refer to God. Because God is Love, all that He does is characterized by love. Providing reliable knowledge is a function of God's love for His creation, just as much as it would be for a parent explaining something vital to a child. It can't be separated from God's nature and His place as man's creator. It's sim ply an activity of God's being.
God is all-knowing. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, describes God in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ``God. The Great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." What God knows is not a mass of detail about the past, present, and future of mortal lives. He knows only what is spiritual, since He is divine Spirit. He know s Himself as the Father-Mother of all and as divine Life itself. And He knows man--the whole and all of man--as spiritual.
What God provides is vital information. What He gives, we need. And He leaves nothing out of what He gives. That is, nothing is outside of God's care, as Christ Jesus proved so often in his minstry. How, then, can we discern the difference between the ideas God is providing and fear, commercialism, or popular opinion?
We can begin with what we know of the nature of God. Learning more of what God is helps us to recognize the knowledge that He imparts. He speaks to us of man's goodness and the brightness of life. His messages are full of hope and love, and also of the strength and dignity of His creation, man. And God's messages--God's ideas--never fail to let us know that we are the man of His creating.
We may read something or see it on television or hear it on the radio. Or it may come in the mail or over the telephone, or a friend might drop by and tell us. Whatever form the news comes in, by knowing the nature of God and by the love this inspires in our hearts, we will know when it is reliable information --information we should take seriously.
And when we know God's nature, we will never be frightened to hear His ideas. We won't hide from them. When information comes that we should hear--even though it makes demands on us--the Love that is God will gently prod us until we listen.