WE read in the Old Testament that the Israelites, when faced with lack of food or water in their passage from Egypt to the Promised Land, complained to Moses that God had forsaken them and intended to let them perish in the wilderness. Haven't you sometimes marveled that the Israelites, who had experienced many proofs of God's care for them and His protection in times of danger, should be so fickle and faithless in their allegiance to Him as soon as famine conditions threatened?
Yet are we as steadfast in our trust as we should be when confronted with lack or some other form of limitation?
As one who was faced with financial ruin and with no hope of rescue in sight, I have experienced the truth that there is no famine situation beyond God's immediate power to correct. I was saved by a growing conviction that God cared for me and would deliver me from this desperate situation. In its own gentle way, divine Love did just that. A close relative from whom I had been estranged and who was informed of my plight was led to send me a loan that enabled me to avert the crisis. This not only put me back on my feet but healed the long-standing breach.
Through study of Christian Science I grew to understand that real, permanent supply is God's outpouring of spiritual ideas. This truth, of course, has to be made manifest humanly, and I can vouch that for me it was. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies.'' And she adds, ``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.''1
``Never doubting''! Ah, there's the rub! But when we realize that God is Love and that His benevolence is continuously imparted to all impartially, doubt gives way to gratitude and harmony.
The spiritual ideas to which Mrs. Eddy refers can provide divine direction of every kind. We only need to be alert not to be misdirected by the desires and urges of human will.
If we feel spiritually led to leave the familiar and take a step into the uncertain and unknown, we can do so with the confidence that Abraham expressed. ``By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.''2 Abraham's obedience resulted in the establishment of a great nation.
The faithfulness that was so marked a quality in the patriarch's character can be matched by our own daily adherence to spiritual truth, by holding thought closely to God as the only source of real provision, unfluctuating and secure.
Both the Old and New Testaments contain accounts of God's provision when there seemed no possible source from which it could appear. Andrew expressed the common conviction of limitation when he told Jesus that all the food there was available to feed five thousand people was five loaves and a few fishes, ``but what are they among so many?''3 Jesus, however, looking away from the evidence of lack, saw the abundance of God's spiritual provision and distributed the food in hand. The result was that the multitude were fed and there were twelve baskets of food left over.
Limitation will always ensue if our gaze is centered on material evidence. Reliance on a salary, a bank balance, a pension, a legacy, stocks and shares, however substantial these may seem, is really a frail basis for trust. Sudden, unexpected events or circumstances can change one's fortunes. All of us who are tempted to depend on possessions for security need to remember this. When relative prosperity took over in my life, I had in a small way to learn one of Job's lessons: ``If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much... this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.''4
Lack and limitation, distrust and doubt, arise from a misunderstanding of what God is and what His offspring, man, is. God is Father-Mother Love, and man is the child of His care. The understanding, even in small degree, of this wonderful truth will point the way out of oppressive circumstances into the light and harmony where God's provision is assured at all times and in all ways.
1Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307. 2Hebrews 11:8. 3John 6:9. 4Job 31:24, 25, 28. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not not want. Psalms 23:1