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The reliability of divine guidance

From the September 24, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

In the Bible we find many accounts of people listening for God’s direction and taking the path to which spiritual inspiration and intuition lead them, step by step relying on God. Starting with Abraham, and all the way through Paul, we see examples of God’s directing and the blessings resulting from obediently following God’s guidance. In Isaiah we read, “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (30:21). And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy we read, “All is under the control of the one Mind, even God” (p. 544).

Turning to God in prayer, I have experienced divine direction numerous times in my life and have always been blessed by following obediently. 

After my service in the United States Navy and a couple of years in a small business, I felt the need to get a clearer life path, and the idea of law school emerged as the right one. I signed up for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and went to take it on a college campus twenty miles from home.

As I drove onto the campus, looking for the correct building and not finding it, I saw a student standing in the middle of the road waving me down. When I stopped, he blurted out that he was to take the LSAT and needed a ride. I said so was I, and asked why he needed a ride, as we were already on campus. He told me the test was being given at the college’s law school five miles away, and it started in fifteen minutes. I felt meeting this student was guidance from our Father-Mother God. We made it just in time and took the exam.

At that time, it took months to get the LSAT results. My wife and I had three small children, and the local university was the practical option that would avoid our having to move or pay tuition we couldn’t afford. I contacted the dean of admissions, but when he learned that I had not taken any preparatory classes and had been out of college for ten years, he very strongly recommended dumping my LSAT before it was scored, since it was the most heavily weighted factor in the admission process. I could then take several prep classes and retake the exam. After the conversation, I remembered how clearly I had felt directed to the test location, and I dismissed the idea that I should dump the exam. When I finally got the results, I found I had tested in the top 7 percent, far above my wildest expectations. I was accepted into the university’s law school.

Turning to God in prayer, I have experienced divine direction numerous times in my life and have always been blessed by following obediently.

During the first few days of law school classes, I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of reading we were given. I was way behind from the first day, and got further behind each day thereafter. I had promised my wife and myself that our family and church participation would not be adversely impacted by my going to law school. The children would get the same attention, opportunities, and care that they would get if I wasn’t attending school, and I would carry my share of the housework, child care, and finances. Though a proper balance of these activities with my school attendance was eventually achieved, at this point, it looked to be impossible.

One night, as I lay on my bed, somewhat terrified, two thoughts came to me that set the course for all of my work in graduate school. First, I remembered that God was in control. Like Caleb in the Bible, who was not intimidated by the “children of Anak” inhabiting the Promised Land, I should not be afraid of the “giants” in law school, and I could go forth with confidence, as Caleb encouraged the children of Israel to do: “Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).

Second, the words came to thought, “There is no Bob Rupp intelligence!” I sat up and said, “Of course; it is all divine Mind, not a personal me doing the work. My job is to go forward and ‘possess it,’ holding always to the truth ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’ ” (Philippians 4:13). This directive included not only my school work, but my church and family obligations as well.

Throughout my graduate studies, I gave primary attention to keeping clear through my study of Christian Science that “my help cometh from the Lord” (Psalms 121:2), and this focus enabled me to give ample attention to my class work as well as family and church duties. 

I experienced many demonstrations of God’s guidance during those three years, but two particularly stand out. Timed multiple-choice exams were very demanding and difficult. As I prayed to see my way through these tests, the angel thought came to me that God, divine Mind, perceives and demonstrates in the same moment. The book of Isaiah gives us God’s assurance, “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (65:24). My job was to go forth and acknowledge divine intelligence guiding me on every question. As I did this, the results were always excellent.

At the end of the first year, there was a final exam for each course that determined the grade in that course for the whole year. I approached taking these exams as if I were attending the birth of a child, as we are instructed in Science and Health: “To attend properly the birth of the new child, or divine idea, you should so detach mortal thought from its material conceptions, that the birth will be natural and safe” (p. 463). 

My job was to go forth and acknowledge divine intelligence guiding me on every question.

However, after taking one of these exams and then listening to my classmates’ post-exam comments, I was absolutely sure that I had failed it. I rode my bike home in despair—until I suddenly realized that I was listening to a lie about myself, rather than having faith in God, and I firmly turned my thought to rejoice once again in the ever-present manifestation of God’s perfection. I began praising God and knowing that, as Science and Health tells us, “a spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive” (p. 463). My exam was posted by the professor as an example of the most perfect set of answers.

Within three years, I earned two degrees—a Juris Doctorate and a Master of Business Administration—and I graduated in the top tiers of both schools. I had no doubt that this was all possible because of my reliance on God, and I acknowledged Him all the way.

Relying on the one Mind, God, and acknowledging that there is no personal intelligence continues to bless me and my family. My becoming an attorney with an MBA led to my being hired by a major communications company to help with its divestiture, and these connections led me to my current job with The Mother Church, serving the Cause of Christian Science.

Surely, the Bible promise that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalms 37:23) applies to all of us, since in God’s eyes we are all good men and women. Our job is always to start with and proceed from Spirit, God, and to trust and follow His loving direction.

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