God's Help Is at Hand

MY six-year-old son and I looked and looked for his baseball. But we couldn't find it anywhere. My son then suggested, ``Why don't we ask God to help us find it?"

Well, I must admit that my first reaction was that this was far too trivial a predicament for which to enlist God's help. As I considered his suggestion further, though, I felt sure that we could rely on God's help no matter how big (or small) the challenge is. We prayed, trusting that God, our all-knowing Father, would guide us to the right answer. Within moments we had found the ball. It made me wonder why we hadn't asked God for help sooner!

Yet how often do we put off praying when we are faced with a challenge? The Bible reassures us in the book of Jeremiah: ``Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?" God's help is at hand, and it is available to us at any time. What we need, first and foremost, is an intelligent faith. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Step by step will those who trust Him find that `God is our refuge an d strength, a very present help in trouble.'"

Having faith, trusting that God loves us, His creation, has a marvelously renewing effect on us. We begin to understand that we are not alone, not helpless mortals struggling through life with limited intelligence and limited resources. We are, in fact, God's own image and likeness. Because we actually reflect God, divine Mind, we already have all we need as part of our very being.

Christ Jesus demonstrated again and again the constant availability of God's tender, healing presence. He consistently listened only to God, in order to discern the spiritual facts. Once he and his disciples needed to provide food for over five thousand people. The book of John tells us that one of the disciples, Philip, said, ``Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little." Jesus, however, had the multitude sit down, gave thanks to God, and fed the

hungry throng abundantly--with food to spare. How fortunate that he chose to listen only to God!

God is in fact the only true intelligence of man. There is no challenge--large or small--that cannot be overcome by trusting God to guide us. I had an opportunity to prove this a few years ago in making an important career decision.

I had a growing family, and it seemed to be rather difficult at times to make ends meet. I prayed about the situation and soon received a rather unexpected out-of-state job offer with a substantial increase in salary. On the surface, it seemed smart to accept the offer. Immediately, though, I felt uneasy about my decision. The employer I was to be leaving was willing to match the salary offer. And after all, I thought, I had been happy there. I weighed pros and cons, I asked friends and loved ones for ad vice.

I did everything except what I should have done to start with--ask God! I took an afternoon off from work so that I could spend some quiet time praying. I knew that only God knew the right answer for me, and that it would be a blessing for me and for everyone else concerned. Soon the answer became crystal clear. I remained with my employer. The benefits that followed were greater than I could have possibly imagined. Yet the greatest blessing was being reminded of the ever-presence of our Father-Mother Go d, divine Mind, who is always there for us to trust and listen to.

It doesn't matter if the challenge appears to be small, like finding a missing baseball, or large, like feeding five thousand people. God's help is with us, right now, and it always will be.

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