A friend and I had traveled to a city where I was to attend a meeting. She was going to see the sights while I was busy.
Late on the night before the meeting, I woke up feeling terribly sick. My first thought was to turn to the Bible for help because it contains ideas that bring the power and goodness of God into our lives. To understand better how to find help in the Bible's messages, I had found I could rely on the teachings of Christian Science.
One problem: my friend was asleep, and I didn't want to disturb her by turning on the light so I could read. Then I remembered that our hotel room had a large walk-in closet with a light. So I took my pillow and two books into it, and was soon settled on its carpeted floor.
The books I had were the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. What I read helped me begin to feel better. I also lost a lot of fears I had about the meeting the next day. I felt comforted, and realized that I was benefiting from a promise Christ Jesus had made to his disciples and future followers. He said, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:16). Mrs. Eddy perceived this Comforter in reliable facts about the way things really are -- the actual law of God in operation, which she named Christian Science. That law was healing me of the sickness and giving me peace.
I fell asleep right there in the closet! When I woke up the next morning, I was completely well. The meeting went off without a hitch. As I thought of the healing I'd had, I couldn't help but recall these words of Christ Jesus: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:6).
I knew Jesus hadn't been referring to walk-in closets of the type I had prayed in. Science and Health illuminates the spiritual intent of this Bible passage when it says: "The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa" (p. 15). I had shut the door on the "sinful sense" that sickness had come into my life and separated me from God. In that "sanctuary" of prayerful thought, I was able to regain a certainty that God was with me wherever I went and that His power leads only to good. When we seek God's control in our lives, we find the very kind of peace and healing we most need.
Of course, there are many times when there isn't a secluded place like a closet to pray in. And yet "the sanctuary of Spirit" isn't a physical place. It's the very presence of God, who is omnipresent. It's where all of us can go in our thoughts. No matter where we are, we can turn to God for guidance or help, in the expectation that an answer will come.
That answer may take many forms. Sometimes it's physical healing if you need it. It may come as an intuition, an inner certainty that everything will be all right, or even as a specific thing to say or do. Sometimes the words of a friend (perhaps someone who doesn't even know what you are concerned about) will bring answers. The important thing is to expect an answer and to be willing to hear it when it comes.
We'll have more success in hearing God's guidance when we remember that we are His. What this means is that we aren't somehow distant from Him and struggling to hear His words. Instead, we are inseparable from God. We get into trouble when, for one reason or another, we begin to doubt this. Perhaps sickness, trouble, fear, anger, or some other "sinful sense" makes you think there is a power opposite to God. But there is not. Because He is good, evil has no power at all.
When anything comes into your life that is not good, it's time to get into the closet. Entering "the sanctuary of Spirit" -- the understanding that God is true power -- you'll feel His presence with you.