GOD does speak to man. The Bible records this in many, many places--Abraham hearing the angel tell him not to sacrifice Isaac; Moses speaking with God on Mount Sinai; Samuel, as a child hearing and answering God's call; and, of course, Christ Jesus in close, daily communication with his Father.
God, our loving Father-Mother, would never create man and then set him adrift in a dangerous place without a word of guidance and encouragement. The truth is, God does not separate Himself from man. His communication with man is a natural and continuous thing. In the book of Exodus, the Bible shows how direct and clear such communication can be by describing Moses' case: ''And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend'' (33:11).
Knowing the nature of God can help us understand how He communicates. God is not manlike, of course; He is infinite Spirit. His creation, man, is like Him, spiritual. And God's communicating is likewise in spiritual terms. This doesn't mean that God's speaking is far-off or rare or only for special people. He speaks to each of His children. What He is saying reaches us in thousands of ways--the inspired message of the Bible, a friend's kind word, vigorous and healthy Godlike thoughts, are only a few of them. God is always speaking to us, and we must be willing to listen to what He's saying even if His message seems contrary to our expectations.
What is God saying? No one can predict or outline such a thing, but we do know that He loves us and gives us just the message we need at each moment. His caring love, of course, permeates all that He communicates. But there is also a demand for us to shake ourselves, to awake, to rise up, to face the foe. In short, God's love demands that we put aside any woeful feeling or self-pity or tendency to lie down, and instead help ourselves by acting on what He is telling us to do.
To me, such a point is vividly illustrated in the story of Herod's imprisonment of Peter, told about in the book of Acts. On the surface, Peter seemed to have had ample reason to be a bit depressed--Herod clearly meant to execute him. So, Peter was chained, and he slept under heavy guard. Then, the Bible tells us, an angel appeared and ''smote'' Peter, saying, ''Arise up quickly'' (12:7). And as he did, the chains fell from him. The angel led Peter safely from the prison so that he could resume his work of preaching the gospel and healing the sick, as Jesus had taught him.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, helps us to understand more clearly the many Biblical references to angels. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she defines angels as ''God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality'' (p. 581).
There is one more vital aspect of God's continuous message to us. Mrs. Eddy, in speaking of angels above, says they ''counteract all evil, sensuality, and mortality.'' Isn't it reasonable, then, that in addition to rousing and assuring us, God's angels also work within us longterm to help us conquer sin? God knows us better even than we think we know ourselves, and He is well able to show us just what we need to know in order to give up any ungodly thinking that we may be harboring. What greater love could He give to us than such a heavenly message?
Paul departed from Athens,
and came to Corinth . . . .
Then spake the Lord
to Paul in the night by a vision,
Be not afraid, but speak,
and hold not thy peace:
for I am with thee,
and no man shall set on thee
to hurt thee . . . .
And he continued there
a year and six months,
teaching the word of God
Acts 18:1, 911