Patience And Obedience

THERE was a colony of little ants living out on a golf course. A golfer's ball landed near the colony. And every time the player swung his club, it missed the ball and plowed into the ants, scattering them to the winds. Finally one little ant said to the other little ant, ``You know, if we want to live, we had better get on the ball.''

It wouldn't be enough, of course, for the ants to figure out what to do. They had to be obedient to the thought before they would be safe. And so it is with us. God cares for each of His ideas, both great and small. When we listen for and are obedient to His messages, we are safe in His arms.

The Bible teaches that man is made in the image and likeness of God, Spirit. To be obedient to the law of God, Spirit, means to be Godlike by expressing qualities such as love, kindness, patience, tenderness, and charity toward others.

I learned a lesson about obedience at a time when my life didn't seem very happy. A friend asked if I had ever made an effort to make someone happy even though I felt unhappy myself. I hadn't. But as I prayed about my friend's idea, I could see that by being obedient to the helpful suggestion I would be seeing my fellowman as God's idea, made in His image and likeness--loving, lovable and lovely. It was a joy to do things to make others happy. And it certainly worked wonders for me! I am sure I was the happiest one of all. Obedience isn't a very big word but it holds a world of joy when put into practice.

When we turn to God in prayer for guidance and pray in the humble way Christ Jesus showed us how to pray, both our desire and our ability to be obedient to God's direction will be strengthened. Jesus prayed to do God's will. Matthew's Gospel tells us he said: ``O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt'' (26:39).

Sometimes being obedient takes patience. Several years ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to learn lessons in patience and obedience. I had been experiencing great pain in my back. I was often confined to a wheelchair or to bed. Regardless of where I was, however, I kept on patiently praying to God and listening for His messages, which told me that God was right there with me every moment.

Each day I prayed to know God better and to love Him more. Sometimes I would ask a friend who was a Christian Scientist to pray for me also. Understanding man's oneness with God, my oneness with God, brought complete healing. There has never been a return of the problem. Patience and obedience had helped me learn of my oneness with God and showed me that I could never be separated from His care.

I had been healed, my thinking purified, and it was God who had healed me. I am grateful for the physical healing, of course, but much more grateful for the increased spiritual understanding of man's inseparability from God that came with the experience.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, speaks of both patience and obedience in a statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures where she says: ``In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error,--self-will, self-justification, and self-love,--which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death'' (p. 242). I love that urging to patient obedience, and strive to be a little more patient, a little more obedient, each day.

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