During the mid-2000s, I decided to act on a long-cherished desire to be self-employed. I created a plan that would allow me to work part-time on my new endeavor. I formed a corporation, lined up financing, and purchased an expensive piece of land needed for my new venture, which was to build an environmentally sustainable house to sell. As I was preparing for the next step, the Great Recession hit. The land lost considerable value, housing prices sank, and my building idea was no longer financially viable. It appeared that my fledgling business idea was a poorly-timed plan that had run afoul of the boom-and-bust business cycle and become a victim of the economic downturn. My full-time employer was also affected, and my position required me to be intimately involved in making adjustments that would keep the corporation financially healthy, while avoiding layoffs and continuing to provide services, even to those who were struggling financially.
As a Christian Scientist, I had learned that our substance comes from Spirit, God. This idea comes from the Bible, which tells us that God created everything with His Word (see Genesis 1 and John 1:1–3). God’s Word must be spiritual, because God is Spirit (see John 4:24), which means that our substance is truly spiritual. Therefore, our supply of good is not based on economic or material conditions, but is instead a spiritual grace provided to each of God’s children.
Christ Jesus knew spiritual substance so well that he twice fed many thousands of people with very few loaves and fishes (see Mark 6:34–44 and Mark 8:1–9). Other spiritually minded Bible characters also proved that their abundance came from God. For instance, Job was severely tested when he lost everything. But he refused to lose his faith in God’s goodness, even when he strongly questioned why he had lost his family and possessions. He bore his tribulation patiently and learned a valuable lesson that resulted in a doubling of his original abundance.
These stories helped me as I patiently prayed for direction with my new business venture. The Old English word for God is good, so my prayers included knowing that God’s plan is always good. I also continued my daily study of the Bible and of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, both of which teach that our faith in Spirit provides a well-grounded hope for success. We read in Hebrews, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (11:1). Although we can’t see Spirit or spiritual substance—just as we can’t see love—we can still know that it exists.
I also prayed to know that no one—whether employer, employee, or client—needs to be adversely affected by economic conditions. Daily I held onto the understanding that God’s ideas cannot be unemployed or underemployed. We are simply reflections of His divine and infallible will carrying out His plan.
With regard to my initial business plan, my prayers led me to take another approach. I decided to purchase houses in need of repair, renovate them in an environmentally sustainable way, and rent them out. I renovated a number of buildings during the years following the recession. Seven years after I began the business, I was finally able to build an energy-efficient house using sustainable practices, as I had hoped to do at the beginning. However, I discovered that I enjoy the renovation and rental business more than building. God had a better plan for me.
Eventually, I was able to leave my employer and rely on my business for financial support, knowing that God is the real source of my supply. My employer was also able to weather the financial storm. No layoffs or salary cuts occurred. Almost all of those served by the company were able to continue being served. The corporation’s reputation was actually enhanced by the way it dealt with the situation, and the company retained its financial strength.
This outcome further proved to me a statement the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, articulated in Science and Health: “It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (p. 494).
The recession did not harm my former employer or my business. And I found that humbly listening to God for direction provides the most secure path to business growth and financial well-being. It is now clearer to me than ever before that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Heathrow, Florida, US