When the unexpected happened
How would we pay our bills? How would we put food on the table?
It was March, which is the end of summer in South Africa, and we sat on our veranda listening to the somber words of our president: Schools are closed; theaters are closed; no public gatherings are allowed; borders are shut down; all travel and tourism are immediately stopped.
While my two “tween” children ran and skipped for joy that school was out for the foreseeable future, I stared into the distance, not knowing what we would do. How would we pay our bills? How would we put food on the table? How would we live? I knew from experience that I could trust God, our loving Father-Mother, to meet all our needs; however, the fear seemed overwhelming.
Both my phone and my husband’s had been beeping all day with cancellations. We are freelance actors and also have small businesses in hospitality, catering, and educational theater. In this unexpected turn of events, all of our sources of income had vanished for at least the next three months. So, there we sat, staring into the darkening summer sky and wondering how we would get through this. We had no savings to draw on and bills that wouldn’t suddenly go away.
In other times of financial challenge, I had prayed with the statement from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). Sometimes, though, I would read this thinking that its promise came with a proviso: that in order for God, divine Love, to meet my needs, I would need to do a lot of praying!
The belief underlying this was that I needed to earn God’s love and provision—that if somehow I hit upon the right combination of words in my prayers, then divine Love would meet the need. It felt as though an element of chance were involved, and that we were separate from God, which I knew wasn’t true.
There we sat, wondering how we would get through this.
This time, as I sat pondering this statement from Science and Health, I reasoned that the word always included the concept of “already.” “Always” is beyond time constraints, and it is all-inclusive. This was a total game changer for my prayers. I began considering what God had already done. Science and Health states, “Science reveals the possibility of achieving all good, and sets mortals at work to discover what God has already done; . . .” (p. 260). This obliterated believing in chance or in merit-based good. Good is an outcome of God’s grace. And good is our inheritance as God’s children, so it’s completely perfect and already done. I realized there was nothing to get, but everything to discover and to give.
For six months previous to this, I had been researching and writing a new play. It had been accepted to be performed at the oldest and most respected arts festival in the country, but 90 percent of the production costs would be up to us. I wondered what I could discover about divine Love meeting the need in this situation. I knew the inspiration to write the play had been from God, and therefore, everything needed to fulfill that inspiration would be supplied by God.
Then, that little word already came back to me. God had already given my family and me everything we needed. Although fear of lack and limitation screamed the exact opposite, I knew these were mistaken beliefs—illusions similar to the way the sun appears to set into the sea. God’s goodness is abundant and never absent, and I knew this fact was a rock I could stand on. My fear disappeared, and I was able to greet each day with joy and hope instead of helplessness and despair.
Within a week, an answer to our financial difficulties presented itself in the form of an opportunity we could never have dreamed of. Our permanent tenant had a business in sanitation products, and had one of the best products on the market, which had gone through rigorous testing procedures and licensing some years before. However, feeling unable to do the work himself, he offered to let my husband use this product to help people with the sanitization of their homes and businesses. Because everything was already in place and this was considered an essential service, my husband could begin right away. Our tenant trained my husband in a few days.
My husband was able to work through the entire lockdown. He has blessed so many people with this service by keeping the cost low. And many of his clients have been grateful to have someone to talk to during this period of isolation. This work met not only our needs but also those
of our tenant and my husband’s customers.
I began considering what God had already done.
I continued to pray daily with these ideas about supply. I knew them to be true for me and for others, and our provision remained constant. This often came from unexpected sources, but always in a timely manner, such as when I received further proof of God’s loving care after about five weeks of lockdown.
A message arrived from the National Arts Festival informing me that they would provide all
the funds needed for the production and filming of the play I had written. It would be a challenge
to put a ninety-minute play together in three weeks, including rehearsing, filming, editing, and completing postproduction! But I knew from my study of Christian Science and from my prayer that the project was already complete and that I could discover this in a God-directed way. It proved to be a great blessing to many unemployed entertainment industry professionals.
It is now almost a year since the beginning of these events, and as I reflect on this experience,
I am beyond grateful that all our needs have been amply met. I am profoundly humbled that in the midst of a global crisis I was able to experience so tangibly the spiritual fact that we are all already complete in God—that nothing can “lock down” God’s ideas or take away what is already present—God, who is infinite Life, Truth, and Love. That is enough for us all!