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Unlock that door!

From the December 26, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

What do you do when a locked door is standing in your way? Can’t get over it, can’t get under it, can’t get through it. Should you try to knock it down? Turn and walk away? Let it stop you in your tracks? No. The way through a locked door is to discover the key!

Whenever the doorway to progress seems firmly closed, whether it’s a career path that’s gridlocked, a school that’s inaccessible, or a new home that’s financially out of reach, right then we do have the means to open the door.

Humbly putting God first and following Mind’s direction awaken us to possibilities we did not see before. 

The key I’m referring to is not a little metal device or an electronic coded card in our pocket, but a turning of thought to God, whom Mary Baker Eddy calls “the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 109). Real progress begins with an understanding of God as the all-seeing, all-knowing divine Mind, the one true source of intelligence. Man, as God’s complete spiritual reflection, at one with God, fully expresses this intelligence. There are no limitations in Mind, no unanswered questions, no unmet needs. Infinite Mind governs all of its ideas in perfect harmony, never allowing any idea to be obstructed. So in reality, there are no locked doors on man’s pathway forward. 

Turning to prayer as the key to accomplish what might otherwise seem impossible, we let God’s wisdom open our eyes to the divine presence at hand. Humbly putting God first and following Mind’s direction awaken us to possibilities we did not see before. Then, with our hand in God’s, confident of Love’s presence, we are able to move forward and watch seemingly intransigent barriers fall.

One dark and drizzly November day, I needed God’s help to literally unlock a door, as I found myself standing before the tightly locked door of my home. When I’d stepped out on the porch to pick up an item for my young toddler, it hadn’t occurred to me she would inadvertently push the door shut behind me. But facing that locked door, I immediately knew I needed to get back inside because this one-year-old was in the house alone, and moments before I had turned a stove element on high. 

Within a few minutes I had checked all the doors and windows, and been to the neighbors’ for a spare key, but all possible entrances were securely locked, and the neighbors were not at home. Through the closed window, I could see my daughter’s puzzled face.

Even while I had been running from door to window, I had been praying. Often at times of difficulty, I find a line from a hymn or a passage from the Bible or Mrs. Eddy’s writings brings the calm that dispels fear and is the key that opens thought wide to God’s message of all-embracing love. Mere human effort steps aside as spiritual alertness wakens us to the Christ, “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Science and Health, p. 332).

As I stood still in the misty rain, the words of one of my daughter’s bedtime hymns began to flow into my thought: “Shepherd, show me how to go” by Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 304). I gratefully acknowledged that there was no limit or interruption to Mind’s unfolding goodness, and that the law of divine Principle was guiding each of us to our right place. I felt certain that the all-encompassing love of Love would show us the way.

The hymn continues, “I will listen for Thy voice, / Lest my footsteps stray.” At that moment I recognized that the key point to finding my way through this challenge was to turn away from any suggestion of an unsolvable problem and listen to God’s voice alone. I knew that all good and intelligent thoughts come from the divine Mind, and these light-filled thoughts would disperse the darkness of fear and open the way to safety.

Never helpless victims of circumstance, we find that Truth always meets our needs along the way.

Within moments a clear directive came: Let your daughter open the door!

This response to my prayer came with such a reassuring sense of God’s love that I didn’t pause to consider how plausible this solution was. My daughter was not yet two, just beginning to learn to talk. She wasn’t even tall enough to reach the door handle and had never opened a door before. But I had reached out to God for help, and a clear answer had come to meet our need. I felt the gentle prodding of Love lifting my thought as I stepped forward. I was already singing the next line of the hymn: “I will follow and rejoice.”

Divine Love’s call to each of us always comes in a way that we can hear and understand. Suddenly another gentle and timely reminder came. This locked-door predicament was the focus of a book we had borrowed from the library that week. Each night at bedtime, our family had shared the tale of a little boy who had similarly closed the front door on his mother. Now I thought of a Bible verse: “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

By reminding my little girl of the picture book, I had a familiar context to share with her. Through the closed window, I explained to my daughter the need to open the front door, and I prompted her with the steps in the story. It took some coaxing and a few false starts, but then she found the right chair, pulled it to the doorway, climbed up on the chair seat, reached the door handle that was twice the size of her little hands, and opened the heavy, locked front door! We had both responded to the clear direction of Mind, enabling us to meet the need of that moment.

And in the next instant, just as our “Shepherd, show me” hymn promises, I “enter[ed] by the door.” With my proud and smiling daughter in my arms, we ran and turned off the stove and shared together the joy of proving once again our Father-Mother God’s great love and care for us.

This love knows no limits, propelling us forward in all avenues of life. We never need to be brought to a standstill at any threshold when our footsteps are taken at Truth’s beckoning. It was guidance from God that had led our family to this very same front door a year earlier.

We had made a cross-country move from a financially depressed region to an expensive metropolitan city. Although we had been unable to sell our home before moving, we were so certain that my husband’s new employment was the answer to our prayer that we had continued with the relocation. Even when the first real estate agent we met in this challenging housing market told us bluntly to turn back or face financial ruin, we stood our ground, knowing our needed support was from God alone.

Living a life of prayer demands the same trust when an answer comes in an inspired moment, or when we need to stay steadfast while searching for a way through a locked door. Never helpless victims of circumstance, we find that Truth always meets our needs along the way. For many months our answer was suitable temporary housing. Then, our previous home did sell, some unexpected resources emerged, and at just the right moment a lovely, affordable home came on the market, just waiting for us to walk through the door. 

Prayer is the key to all sorts of locked doors. Putting God first and listening to “the ‘still, small voice’ of Truth” before we step forward (Science and Health, p. 323), opens thought to a recognition of the ever-available power of Principle, unfolding the activity of the Christ, which knows no bounds. This humble recognition of God’s presence rids us of fear and worry. There aren’t any insurmountable circumstances or bolted entries that divine Love can’t unlock. And as we joyously follow the pathway He has prepared, the key of prayer can open wide the door of our thought to understand and experience perfect health, abundant supply, and unrestricted movement. This is possible for each one of us.

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