THE three of us were buddies. But my two friends were allowed to have and to do things that I wasn't, and sometimes this bothered me. After all, we were the same age, we went to the same school, and I felt I should be able to do the same things. My two buddies were twins, and they had guns. They thought it was adventurous to aim at small animals in the fields and on telephone wires. I didn't want to shoot at animals, but I did want to shoot the guns. My parents had told me not to, though, to prevent me f rom hurting myself or anyone else.
One day the twins asked me if I wanted to try to aim and shoot at a piece of wood. We were behind a fence, and I decided that since no one could see me (particularly my parents), I would try it.
I lifted the gun, looked down the barrel, aimed, and snap! My finger got trapped in the trigger--smashing and cutting it. The twins laughed at me for not knowing how to shoot.
I was attending a Christian Science Sunday School, so I did have some knowledge of how to pray. I went off to a quiet place and began praying to heal my finger. I knew that being disobedient was wrong, and I humbly turned to God to ask for forgiveness for disobeying the wishes of my parents.
Soon I thought of one of the Ten Commandments: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Exodus 20:12). Through prayer I began to see that obeying my parents' wishes--especially when they had my safety in mind--was really a way to obey God, who is man's Father-Mother God, good. By obeying my parents, and showing respect for their rightful desires and instructions, I was in a small way showing respect for God's desires and instructions.
And I knew this was actually natural for me, because the Bible says God made man to be His likeness, to express His goodness and purity.
I really wanted to express God and to feel His presence and care. Through prayer I began to feel these things. And not long after that my finger healed perfectly. The twins and I stayed buddies, but I didn't do any more shooting!
It's difficult to go through life with a perfect record. We may find some things we know we shouldn't do extremely tempting. But at times like that we can turn to our Father-Mother God. Through prayer we feel God's love for us and we hear His guidance. This helps us to do the right thing. And it's nice to know that God constantly cares for His children--even if it seems that we haven't been listening very closely to His direction.
Christ Jesus showed us whom to listen to. Once when the devil, a representation of evil thoughts, was tempting Jesus to throw himself off a cliff for a reward of material power and popularity, Jesus quietly and humbly turned to God in prayer for guidance and strength. The Bible records that Jesus turned on the bad thoughts, saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Luke 4:8).
Obeying God keeps us happy and safe. And through prayer we learn to get rid of the bad thoughts trying to tempt us. Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Obedience to Truth gives man power and strength" (p. 183). Obeying God, Truth, by following His commands and expressing our true nature, gives us the ability to be good and do good.