IN a familiar comedy routine, one comedian tries vainly to get into a house by elaborate means, finally giving up. Then the other tries the door and finds it open. This habit of assuming things will be locked or blocked is so common that firefighters have a saying, ``Try before you pry.'' Assuming that a problem is unsolvable has often depressed effort and retarded solutions. Yet there are God-derived answers to the challenges we face. Should we doubt God's care and perhaps be amazed at signs of His presence, or should we open the door of thought to the naturalness of divine deliverance?
The Bible tells us that when Peter was in prison, ``prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.''1 One night while he was ``sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains,'' we're told that ``the angel of the Lord came upon him.'' But when the angel woke Peter up and told him to follow him out of the prison, he at first thought he only saw a vision.
Obeying the angel, he went to a house where many Christians were gathered praying, and a young woman named Rhoda recognized his voice at the door. She ran in and told the others that Peter was outside. Their reply was, ``Thou art mad.'' And when she held her ground, they asserted, ``It is his angel.'' When Peter continued to knock and was admitted, they were astonished -- though they were praying for his freedom.
Do we trust our own prayer and expect results? Is the door of our thought open to the naturalness of a healing resolution to challenges? How deeply important it is to admit God's allness and trust it fully.
On one occasion, when Christ Jesus' disciples had failed to heal a case, and he succeeded, the Master told his disciples, ``If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.''2
Mustard has a tiny seed. But faith is a precious and powerful quality of thought, and when it's present, even a little, in pure and living form, its radiant acknowledgment of God's irresistible goodness and love has a profound healing impact.
A grain of enlightened faith acts to transform experience with its conviction that God is in fact Love; that He is present, all-powerful, tenderly and yet irresistibly in action for the good of man; and that man exists wholly within the influence of God's beneficent direction. How could such a seed of faith fail to grow?
We can make these ideas practical. On the simplest level, every time we refuse to accept doubt and persist in seeking a solution to the benefit of all, we are opening the door to proof of God's goodness. This is not to suggest that we be naive or simply think positively but that we reject doubt through a growing understanding of God's care for man.
It's also important that we open our thought to the wholly spiritual nature of man as the image of divine Spirit. As we understand that our true being is never forsaken or separate from God but is lovingly governed by Him, we will more consistently rely on Love. This understanding breaks barriers to progress. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``The admission to one's self that man is God's own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea. This conviction shuts the door on death, and opens it wide towards immortality.''3
As this conviction grows, and is proved valid in our experience, we become willing to pray more earnestly when doors seem not to open immediately. They will open. The key lies in spiritualizing our own thought and refusing to give up.
Prayers that are sincere, specific, probing acknowledgments of God's allness and love for His creation remove barriers in our thinking that would keep us from seeing God's will and its realization. Persistent troubles yield to the steady nudge of prayer. And though the process may occasionally seem long, we see in the end that the stubborn door was really open all along. Delays in discovering this lay only in our own misconceptions.
We can take confidence in Christ Jesus' statement ``Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.''4 We must ask in faith, seek spiritual truth, and knock with the understanding that all that can truly answer our prayer is divine Love.
1See Acts 12:1-17. 2Matthew 17:20. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 90. 4Matthew 7:7, 8. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalms 62:5