The Best Help With Schoolwork

Taking a spiritual look at events and issues of special interest to young people.

When I was in the sixth grade, I moved to a new school in the middle of the year. The work there was a lot harder than at my old school. The students were all much better students than I was, and they were used to studying more than I was.

The second week, the teacher announced we would be having a test the next day on the parts of flowers. I went home and read over the material we'd been given in class. That was about as much studying as I had ever done, and I guessed it would be enough.

But instead of the multiple-choice test I'd expected, we were given a detailed picture of a flower, with each little part pointed out and a line on which to write its name. I didn't know a single answer. What could I do? I could have given up and flunked. But I wanted to do well at this new school. I prayed, which is what I'd usually done when I had a big problem.

I'd learned how to pray from going to Sunday School. One of the things I'd learned was that prayer doesn't mean telling God what the problem is and then waiting for Him to solve it. What it means is listening carefully to the ideas that God is already giving you, and then obeying those ideas.

In Sunday School we had learned a lot about what Christ Jesus said and did. One of Jesus' disciples, John, learned a lot from listening to Jesus and watching him heal and help people. John wrote, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. . . . There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:16, 18). I knew God loved me, and that because of this He had helped me have the opportunity to go to this new school. Already I was learning that studying meant more than just looking over assignments once! Because God loved me, I didn't have to be afraid. He would help me, I was sure.

I listened-not with my ears, but more with my heart. Listening in that way is listening with a sense that is spiritual. Your five material senses aren't as trustworthy as spiritual sense. I got really quiet inside, which meant I quit being afraid and listening to all the worried thoughts that said I was going to flunk. I just tried to feel God's love.

The first thing I heard, or thought of, was that God is Mind. That's one of the names for God that Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, discussed in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Just as John knew that God is Love, Mrs. Eddy knew that God is truly wonderful in many ways. In answer to the question "What is God?" Mrs. Eddy wrote, "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (p. 465). What was important to me that morning was that God is Mind.

I decided that what that meant was that God knew everything real. God loved me, and I dwelt, or lived, in Him, and He knew everything, so I couldn't very well be separated from the good ideas that He knew. It just made sense to me that if I listened to Him, I would know everything I needed to know.

So I looked at the first question and listened. Suddenly I knew the answer and wrote it down. Then I looked at the next question and listened. That answer came to me and I wrote it down. I went through the whole test that way, one question at a time, until I had all the lines filled out. The next day when we got our tests back, I had scored a perfect score, the highest in the class.

Does that mean I didn't have to study anymore? No way! It did mean school just kept getting better and better for me. Now I began listening to God to see how I should go about studying for tests, and how to go about solving mathematics problems that seemed too tough, and how to get along with my classmates better.

Look, you can always trust God. He's not going to steer you wrong. He is Love; He loves you. You don't have to think of yourself as one of those people who don't do so well in school, or who have a hard time with math, or anything like that. You can turn to God like I did and let Him help you.

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