I was driving the long four hour stretch from Saint Paul to the northwoods in Wisconsin. I noticed the billboards near the open highways. One was selling its space on the billboard with its message: "Here's your sign!"; a hospital advertised its services with the message "Shine!" A bank encouraged people to switch over to their bank with the message "Switch now!" And another billboard promoted the idea of newer larger homes with the message "Think bigger."
I had been praying for months about a certain decision that our family was facing. Although I felt a strong sense of direction in my prayer, there were times that I just wanted a clear and distinct sign as to what we needed to do. Thinking this through on my way up north, I laughed when I saw the first billboard with the message: "Here's your sign!" This was followed by a string of billboard messages that pointed out exactly what we needed to do: "Think bigger" "Switch now" with the results being that we would "Shine!" Too funny. And quite helpful!
Not all my messages from God are written on billboard signs, however. Some messages seem to be quite unlike any kind of message in the conventional sense. So how have I been able to distinguish when a message is from God or when it is just my own will coming through?
In a word, I've been able to distinguish a message's origins by the peace and freshness it produces.
But talking with God is more than achieving an emotion. And God is infinitely more than an imagined behavioural therapist!. Talking with God is about finding your relationship to the source of Life itself. An experience with the divine is more about a humble conviction and a grateful connection. This has come about in my experience in a number of different ways: There are times when I will, as it says in the Bible, "..hear a word behind you saying This is the way, walk ye in it..." (Isa. 30:21) Other times, it will be an intuition, that then grows into a conviction in what direction I need to take. (See Science and Health, p. 298). And then of course, there are the burning bushes - those so obvious neon signs that clearly point out the next steps.
What if you aren't getting a clear sign? This has also happened to me a number of times. When praying and feeling no particularly clarity, I wait. This is a time to reaffirm who God is and who I am in relation to God. God is always present, in all ways. God is infinite Love, and fills all space and I am included in this wide embrace. There is no vacuum. If I need to make a move I do so, acting on my highest sense of right, and trusting that God will continue to guide, correct, or adjust whatever is needed.
These two ideas about prayer have deepened my trust in Love's directing my life.
From the first two pages of Science and Health:
"Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the divine Mind. Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds"
"...the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void."
Whether we are seeing clear signs, hearing a still, small voice, feeling an intuitive impulse, or simply moving ahead in trusting prayer or being still - God is governing, guiding, protecting and providing. We can trust that.
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016