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From the May 30, 2005 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

ONE MORNING, I AWOKE WITH A DEEP SENSE OF DESPAIR ABOUT OUR FINANCIAL situation. We were struggling to pay our bills and make ends meet. My husband had accepted a job and we'd moved to a different state. But the job hadn't worked out. Now he was temporarily working in a low-wage part-time job. And my in-home business wasn't yet big enough to contribute more than a meager income. Things looked bleak.

I usually start my days with quiet prayer. That morning, though, there were a number of tasks that needed to be accomplished first thing. It was mid-morning before I got some time to myself, and by then the gloom had pretty well set in. I couldn't even think of any prayer beyond a plea for help.

So I began reading the Bible and turned to the story where God asks King Solomon in a dream what He could provide him to aid in governing his new kingdom (see I Kings, chap. 3). Solomon asks God for "an understanding heart." I shook my head and thought, "I'd have asked for money." Reading on, I realized how silly that thought was. The Bible story continues, explaining that God was so pleased with Solomon's request that He not only gave him the wisdom he asked for but riches and honor as well.

My plea for help had been answered. Any concern I'd had was instantly dissolved as I laughed at the absurdity of an appeal to God for money. And I realized there was a very real solution to our financial woes in the Bible story I was reading. Taking the Biblical passages and redesigning them to fit my situation, I came up with the following outline:

1) God wants to give me all good. 2) My natural desire is to express more trust in Him and to depend on His wisdom to guide me. 3) This faith and understanding will provide me with what I need.

As I began to think more deeply about these concepts, I realized I could apply them right now in my life. I began with the provocative idea that God wants to give me all good. The authority for this declaration stems from the Bible premise that God made everything and that "it was very good" (see Genesis, chap. 1). A God who created only good must be the source of good, and therefore must, in fact, be good. To consider that a good God might withhold something I needed from me, or instead give me something bad, didn't fit in with that original Biblical assertion.

I study Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy as a Bible companion book. It echoes this assurance when it says, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (p. 494). Defining God as Love itself, both our source and outcome, reassured me that tender care and unwavering support are included in God's very nature, and are available to me through His ever-presence. This love of Love was embracing me even now, easing away thoughts of fear and comforting me with a feeling of safety.

Contemplating point number two brought to my mind this imperative from Proverbs: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him. ..." The promise of this profound instruction is that when we do so, "... he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5, 6). This guarantee is provable, I realized. In other situations where I had needed something, whether it was better health or improved relationships, I had found satisfaction and success in turning to God for healing, reassurance, guidance. So recognizing that it was normal for me to turn to God in this time of need, I saw that the expectation of a satisfying outcome was the natural outgrowth of my trust in His provision.

I was reminded of numerous stories in the Bible where Jesus showed that this conviction of God's ever-present care brought instant help and healing. One story that illustrates this clearly is found in Matthew. Over 5,000 people had gathered to hear Jesus preach. The crowd had been listening for a long time, and Jesus' disciples figured they must be hungry and should be sent away. Jesus, on the other hand, suggested that they stay and be fed. The disciples had only two fish and five loaves of bread. The Bible says, "And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled" (Matt. 14:19, 20).

I didn't need to preplan how we would be cared for. I only needed to trust that God was already caring for us.

I saw that I needed to set aside my own sense of what should happen—just as Jesus' disciples needed to—in order for us to regain our financial freedom. I didn't need to preplan how we would be cared for. I only needed to trust that God was already caring for us.

This led me to consider point number three. Instead of supposing that some change in circumstances was required before God would meet our needs, I recognized that the only need was to better understand my relationship with God. Then insight and inspiration—divine wisdom—would reveal opportunities that would lead to a good solution. Explaining this cause and effect connection, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 307).

My revitalized conviction in the sure and solid power of God as a provider was enough to break the gloom of the morning. Instead I felt a peaceful awareness that this was simply an opportunity to connect more deeply with God's plan for me and my family. I knew that this plan was already established and that Love's desire to care for us would reveal the details as we needed to know them.

As I leaned on this understanding over the next few weeks and months, my fear dissolved, and I became more confident of God's care, and of my receptivity of and willingness to trust His direction. Soon, my husband found reliable full-time employment. Over time, my in-home business grew. And it continues to grow.

These tangible proofs of divine Love's outreach and embrace, and my own ability to respond to them, have taught permanent lessons. We paid off our debt and bought a home. Now, if money seems tight, my first course of action is to do what Solomon did—to ask for an understanding heart. And I am confident that God will provide for me, as He did for Solomon, with all that I need.

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Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner and lives in salem, Oregon.

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