WHEN MAN LISTENS by Cecil Rose for The Oxford Group

Everyone can listen to God.
When man listens, God Speaks.
When man obeys, God works.
When men are changed, nations change.

God in Control When a forty horse-power car refuses to climb a hill, it is time to find out what is wrong. Had it been a car of 8 horse-power, or even ten horse-power, we might have concluded that the hill was too steep, but a forty horse-power car is made to climb any hill.

We are in the same plight to-day with religion. It looks as though Christianity had stopped on the hill. Certainly the type of Christianity to which we have been most accustomed has not been able to surmount the hatreds and fears which divide nations, races, and classes, or the selfishness which results in want amidst a world of plenty. It has also failed to reach the need of vast numbers of men and women who are at war with themselves and in great want of peace, freedom from fear, and the power to deal with life victoriously. Meanwhile materialist ideologies have swept past it in the race for world leadership.

To plead the difficulties of the time–war reactions, materialistic tendencies, and the rest–is to beg the question. The power which Christians claim to wield is God’s power. That should be enough to take us up any hill and over all obstacles.

Why has it not done so?

If we choose, we may say that the car is a fraud that it was never capable of a quarter of its alleged horse-power, and we may leave it at the roadside. That will not take us up the hill. And we do need desperately some means of getting to the top. For one thing the gradient is dangerous. We are in danger of running backwards at any moment into social chaos, personal unhappiness and defeat, or world disaster. But apart from damage, there is in us the desire for life at a level of freedom, effectiveness, and happiness for ourselves and for the world greater than anything we have yet reached. We need something to lift us to this level. We should be silly to abandon the car before we have made quite sure that its breakdown is not our fault and that it cannot be put right.

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