Sometimes the answer to a particular problem – whether it’s a need to heal a physical ailment, a family or work situation, or even a national or international issue – doesn’t come from following our mental “map” of how we think things should work out.
An experience I had when a friend and I were lost taught me a good lesson about this. We had made a reservation with a campground for a visit to upstate New York. Despite having a map to the campground, we couldn’t find it, and we couldn’t phone them. The campground had to be there! But it wasn’t.
With only one hour to go before it closed, I pulled over to pray for God’s direction. I knew from experience and many examples in the Bible that divine Love, God, cares for each of us, because in spiritual fact, we are His children. For example, by listening to God, Moses was able to guide thousands of people across a wilderness to the Promised Land. They faced many dangers, but each time God guided them. Even when they made mistakes, God was still a present help and met their needs for food and water as well as safety.
It is clear, too, that Christ Jesus relied on God for every detail of his ministry. Those who followed Christ – during Jesus’ career and after – also found God’s help to be ever-present.
Having relied on prayer for many years, I felt this same care and guidance was there for my friend and me – and for all who turn to God in prayer. No matter where we are or who we are, His help is at hand, if we are willing to listen. As the Psalmist declared, “Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me” (Psalms 31:3).
These thoughts from the Bible were strengthened by what I had learned from my study of Christian Science, which teaches that God is infinite Mind. In her textbook on Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The ‘divine ear’ is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 7).
In prayer, I affirmed that there is one Mind and that I could rely on the clarity and peace that come from God to lead us where we needed to go. As I prayed – and I know my friend was praying, too – I felt led to put aside the map and to put my absolute trust in God’s guidance. I knew that spiritual intuition – spiritual ideas from God that we all have the ability to discern – would lead us. After trusting in this way, I felt specifically guided about which roads to take, and these intuitions led us to the campground. The person who met us was apologetic and said that there was a mistake in the map we had been given.
As I’ve grown in my understanding of my spiritual nature as God’s idea, I’ve seen more clearly that God always leads our way. This includes blessings for me, and also for those I am working with or friends I am trying to help. The book of Jeremiah puts this very eloquently: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you” (Jeremiah 29:11, 12).
In my prayers for my community and country – as well as the world – I’ve tried to give up my personal opinions about how things should work out and trust all to God. That doesn’t mean that I sit by passively in situations where action is needed. But it does mean that I gain peace and confidence from the conviction – and proofs – that God is leading each of us; we only need to listen to and trust in His guidance.