Listening for God

THERE'S a legend about a boy who saved Holland from being flooded by the waters of the North Sea. Because much of the land is below the level of the sea, big walls, dikes, kept the waters from coming onto the land. One day when he was coming home he heard water trickling through a hole in the dike. That would be a very frightening thing for anyone to see-at any moment the little hole might have become a big hole and all the water might have rushed in.

But the boy didn't run away. He stuck his finger in the hole, and even though the water was really cold, he stayed there all night, until someone found him in the morning and the dike was repaired.

Like that boy, everyone has choices to make, every day-about whether to obey rules, about how to treat friends and family. We can make better decisions by considering how they will affect other people. I am sure that he would much rather have gone home for a nice dinner and slept in a warm bed. But he knew that if he ignored the hole in the dike, it would have had disastrous effects on everyone in his community. He was being unselfish. He was caring for others. He was listening to good, which is God.

One way to listen for God's direction is to stop what you might think you want to do and keep very still. You then can hear God better. He guides us to the right thing to do in every circumstance. Anyone can listen to God, and help himself or herself, and help others. When someone is obedient to God in this way, he or she is always blessed. God supports honest ways and words. He is the power behind kind words and actions. Counting on God to show you what needs to be done, even if someone is treating you badly, you won't react in anger or say words you might regret. Everyone who knows people who turn to God wants to be around them, because the genuine qualities of God are shining through what they say and do.

The Bible tells about Daniel, who prayed to God three times every day (see Daniel, chapter 6). Daniel's habit of listening to God made him a very successful leader, and he became so powerful that some people resented him. They had him thrown into a den of hungry lions. But Daniel loved God, and he loved what God created. Even the lions must have felt loved, because they didn't touch him. And when the king saw that Daniel's God of love was able to save him so remarkably, he ordered everyone in the country to pray to this one God. So here not only was Daniel helped by turning to God in prayer every day, but everyone was helped by seeing that it was God alone who helped Daniel to be a wise and successful leader.

Christ Jesus gave good advice on how to get close to God and hear His direction. Prayer, he indicated, will show that we're already in the presence of God. Jesus said, ''When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly'' (Matthew 6:6).

In referring to this statement, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discover of Christian Science, wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa. The Father in secret is unseen to the physical senses, but He knows all things and rewards according to motives, not according to speech. To enter into the heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error'' (p. 15).

Try going to God first every day. You'll find it makes a difference in your life. And you'll help other people.

And 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.

Isaiah 30:21

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