The lyrics of Pete Seeger’s song “To Everything There is a Season” were taken word for word from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1‐8). The only words Seeger added were “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “I swear it’s not too late.”
In the mid-’60s, The Byrds’ version of the song, renamed “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” reached No. 1 on the charts.
The great characters of the Bible always turned to God when they had important decisions to make, faced desperate situations or needed healing for themselves or others. And they got results.
When Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt after 430 years of slavery, the Egyptian army pursued them to the Red Sea. In this crisis, when escape looked impossible, Moses turned to God for help, and a strong east wind opened a path through the sea. (See Exodus chapters 13 and 14.)
The prophet Elisha turned to God for guidance continually. Through his communion with God, he was able to warn the king of Israel numerous times of ambushes and surprise attacks planned by the Syrians. (See 2 Kings chapter 6.)
Peter was imprisoned by King Herod, chained in his cell and guarded by 16 soldiers the night before he was to be executed. Yet the Christians of the budding Antioch church prayed for Peter without ceasing, and that very night Peter walked out of the prison to freedom. (See Acts chapter 12.)
Turning to God in tough, seemingly impossible situations was very natural for these biblical worthies. They knew that God was with them and that he was all-powerful. They believed that God heard their prayers and that he answered prayer in ways they could not foresee.
Christ Jesus turned to God and acknowledged his sonship with God continually. Expressing unsurpassed humility, even in light of what were deemed miraculous healing works, Jesus always gave God, the Father, the entire credit for what he did. He said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Jesus could heal because he turned to his source, God, for the healing.
When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, he saw the same deformed hand as did the others in the synagogue on that Sabbath day. But conscious of God’s supreme goodness, justice and love, he overruled the deformity. The man was healed immediately. (See Mark 3:1-5.)
Recently, a man with a medically diagnosed case of shingles contacted a Christian Science practitioner for help through prayer. The practitioner turned his thinking away from the model of man as only a biological organism and prayed to see this man as the image and likeness of God, as stated in Genesis 1. The patient reported that the pain dissipated almost immediately, and within four days all bodily evidence of shingles was gone. Both the patient and the Christian Science practitioner rejoiced that God is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1) and that he loves us dearly.
Turning to God in prayer sometimes only involves being quiet and listening to the spiritual intuitions or ideas flowing continually to us from the Father. This kind of turning, too, can bring practical results.
Originally published on The Clarion Ledger, @clarionledger