IT was one of those drizzly, cold, rainy Sunday afternoons in February. My family were all involved in activities away from home, so I had a little time to myself. Quiet time for reading -- or so I thought! I had been thinking about an idea that had been expressed by two Bible characters who had lived thousands of years apart. They both "believed God," as the Bible tells us. Both had been deeply touched by God's Word.
In the first instance, Abraham and his wife Sarah had been childless for decades. But when an angel appeared to them in their old age and told them that Sarah would bear a child, Abraham "believed God," as Paul told the Galatians.
Similarly, the Apostle Paul himself, a follower and advocate of Christ Jesus, heard the voice of God while he was a prisoner on board a ship during a treacherous storm. Paul, we read in Acts, assured those on the ship that although the ship would be destroyed by the storm, all the men's lives would be saved. He said, "There stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul." He then goes on to say, "Sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God."
To believe God! How remarkable, how bold, how full of conviction! As I was thinking about these ideas that day, I felt clearly God's love for man and His ability to communicate with each of us in ways that we can understand--ways that we will believe! I felt so grateful for such a loving Father-Mother God that I spontaneously prayed, "God, use me!"
When God talks to us, we can believe what He is telling us. And we know it is God speaking (and not our own desires) because His Word is always good, selfless, unlimited, and kind. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that angels are "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality." God's angel messages may not be what we expect, but they always help us to understand God, and the consistency of His laws of good, so that we have a sound basis for believing Him.
After I had asked for God's guidance in serving Him, I sat still a moment. Soon the thought came that I should take a walk. At first I was surprised at the thought. It was not really the kind of weather that I normally enjoyed walking in! But I remembered my prayer for God to use me in His work, and a more humble willingness took over. I decided to "believe God."
I put on my raincoat, and as I left the house with my umbrella, I prayed to be reassured that I really was following God's will. After I had walked only two blocks, I looked ahead of me. Coming along the sidewalk toward me was a baby girl, maybe eighteen months old. She was toddling along in the rain, followed closely by what turned out to be the family dog. I looked all around. There were no other people nearby. The child appeared to have wandered quite a distance away from home. I took her hand, and we headed back in the direction from which she had come. Before long, she was reunited with her family. It turned out that she had been lost for some time, and her family had been anxiously searching for her.
I was so glad that I had "believed God" when the thought came to go for that walk. We need to listen to God, to believe His Word, and to act on what we hear from Him. All good works come from God and are made manifest as we unselfishly follow His direction. By listening, hearing, and believing, we become, as the Epistle of James puts it, "doers of the word, and not hearers only."