At home in Spirit
Much has been written about the housing shortage in cities around the world. Those who have money are more or less well accommodated, but for a great part of the population it can be a struggle to find a place to put their heads when night falls. The situation is particularly severe in third world countries, where the great majority of city dwellers are self-employed in relatively low-paying jobs.
This is the picture that appears at first glance. But Christian Science, the rules of which Mary Baker Eddy discovered and explained in simple words in the 19th century, tells a different story. This Science states that spiritual reality, governed by God, is harmonious. It follows that a shortage of accommodation or inharmony of any kind can’t be real. In reality you and I and everybody already have a perfect place; all we have to do is to look into spiritual facts. Mrs. Eddy writes in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The spiritual reality is the scientific fact in all things” (p. 207 ). So we can translate, so to speak, every physical need into spiritual language to apprehend God’s perfect solution.
I first learned about Christian Science in 2007, shortly after I arrived in prison. Upon my release several months afterward, I longed for a house to accommodate my rather large family—five children. Everybody will tell you that to get a room to rent in the city of Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, is an ordeal. And how much more difficult if you intend to build a house of your own! Even in marshy areas the price of a square meter of land deters you.
As I was praying about this situation, it dawned on me one morning that my motives to provide for my family were pure, and that I was so much loved by God that I couldn’t possibly fail to see this desire for permanent housing fulfilled. As the days and months went by, I kept feeling buoyed by this spiritual encouragement—even without any visible evidence to justify this confidence.
I suppose I was expecting God to give me the money needed to buy or build a house, but it did not quite happen that way.
One Wednesday evening at a testimony meeting in my Christian Science branch church, the First Reader read a Bible quote I had not heard before: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1 ). This idea completely changed my expectation. I saw that I should not think of housing for my family as only attainable through an elaborate process that needed to be followed step by step. Instead, I thought of what Jesus said to his disciples: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35 ). The disciples must certainly have been thinking the same way as I, but Jesus said in substance: “You think that some time must elapse before harvest is ready. You are mistaken. Harvest is ready right now.” I began to realize that a solution, a home, was already prepared for me in Spirit. So it was real, and would certainly come into my experience.
A solution, a home, was already prepared for me in Spirit.
Science and Health states, “Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas” (p. 123 ). So you, I, and everybody already have our house in God, who, along with His creation, is all that exists. The Bible states that in God “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28 ). We don’t have to struggle to find a place to live in. This fact does not depend on us to manifest it, but on a law, which implies something that’s too powerful to be violated. This law is that of eternal harmony.
One evening not too long after that testimony meeting, I received a visit from a former fellow inmate with whom I had shared the same room in prison. At one point in our conversation he asked me, “Lerois, why don’t you buy a piece of land to build a house to accommodate your children?” I tried to reply, “But, Jean-Claude, you know I don’t have money to do that, and it happens … .” But he didn’t allow me to finish. He proceeded: “No! That’s no problem; I’m going to give you a piece of land to build on. You’ll pay for it when you’re ready, in reasonable installments.” And he kept his promise.
When some friends learned that I had gotten land on which to build a house, one of them found a place where we could buy wood at a very reasonable price. I was able to secure financial assistance as well, and it happened that two fellow church members were building technicians. The wooden house was built in March 2011, less than one year after it had appeared impossible to secure even a single square meter. And thanks to the generosity of another church member, I was even able to begin paying off the cost of a second plot of land. If it is in God’s plan, I hope to sell it when I finish paying for it and use the proceeds to modernize my family’s house. I should record that these two sites I was offered are in areas that I could not have imagined I would be able to afford. I know people earning thrice as much money as I who have not been able to buy a piece of land there. I’ve made good progress paying off both plots. And understanding better “the immutable law of God, good” (Science and Health, p. 134 ), I realize that every connection will be put in place so that everyone involved in these transactions will be fully satisfied.
Our true house consists of being aware that we are part of God’s creation, where everything has its own place. In fact, each person reflects infinity in every aspect of life—housing, resources, intelligence, and so forth. Can there be too many turtles and too few shells to accommodate them? Of course not. The shells are part of the equation.
God is never too narrow to contain His ideas, and never unaware of any part of Himself. So His universe will never be too small to accommodate its inhabitants decently. Divine Science, which is practical, demonstrable, and proceeds by infallible rules, enables us to enjoy the happy results of this principle.
Mary Baker Eddy states: “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (Science and Health, p. 506 ). I’m learning that it is enough to know that a problem will be solved, because God will work out the solution.