WOULDN'T we all like to have a totally dependable guide to help us find our way through the complexities of modern life? We've all tried, haven't we, at one time or another, to be guided by someone we admired or respected? And most of us have been disappointed by the results. Is there any way to do better? Yes! God guides His children. When we listen to His messages -- and follow His direction -- we are protected, guarded, and governed by His love. But in the hustle and bustle of everyday life it may seem difficult to learn to slow down and listen to divine direction. We may doubt that God is guiding us -- and doubt even more that we can actually hear His message.
Of course, God's messages are spiritual. So while we don't necessarily hear them as words, our innate spiritual receptivity does enable us to hear His messages. The Bible sometimes refers to God's messages as angels, and Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives us a useful, spiritual definition of angels in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``ANGELS. God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.''
These divine ideas, or messages, coming from God to man, then, are good and helpful. When heeded, they protect us from harm. They show us the way to solve the problems confronting us. They counteract the evil that would detour us from God's pathway. They come as ideas of good that show us what to do or say in a particular situation in order to change things for the better.
To hear these messages from God, our thought must be open, searching for divine guidance -- receptive to good. Condemnation, fear, self-will, dishonesty, anything that would obscure our ability to listen to God's messages, can be quieted and dissolved as we learn to turn to the Almighty in prayer.
Prayer helps to quiet the hurried and worried thought. It shuts out fear and animosity and lets in the peace that is God-given.
Christ Jesus brought peace to those around him because he knew that man is the child of God. God, Spirit, created man, and man is therefore spiritual and perfect. The spiritual peace that was so natural to Christ Jesus can also be found within each one of us as we learn more of our relationship with our Maker.
Jesus' peace came from understanding his unbreakable relationship to God, which brought practical results. Once he was sleeping on a ship when his frightened disciples woke him to tell him they were in the midst of a windstorm that was filling the ship with water. In Mark's Gospel we read that Jesus ``arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.''
This is what prayer does -- it rebukes the fear, worry, hatred, and aggression in our thought and leaves us with ``a great calm'' in which we can hear God's messages.
The world doesn't have to come to a standstill for us to hear these God-directed messages. We can learn to listen for them wherever we are, whatever we're doing -- even in the midst of a storm! As we begin to be more aware of God's guidance, we can follow His guidance obediently -- even if it seems to conflict with our own preferences. To trust God is to trust His wisdom, His love, His presence. It is to turn to Him and follow His direction.
Whatever the problem confronting us, we too can feel the peace of knowing that God is always guiding us. He never stops guarding and directing His children. As the Psalmist puts it: ``He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.''