WHEN I was growing up, our family pretty much lived from paycheck to paycheck. One summer, one paycheck didn't quite stretch to the next. There was no money for groceries and nothing left in the cupboard. We turned to our summer garden and ate tomatoes until the next payday. This experience left me with a deep fear of not having enough--a fear that extended well into adulthood. As a result, I was preoccupied with achieving material well-being and anxious about being able to maintain it.
Years later, as a student of Christian Science, I was able to recognize--and find healing for--these fears. One line from the Lord's Prayer, ``Give us this day our daily bread'' (Matthew 6:11), took on special meaning to me. I had begun to see that the prayer Christ Jesus gave us is a prayer for today, not yesterday or tomorrow. We ask daily for the bread of the blessing of God's great love and care for us. And that prayer is answered when we trust in God and acknowledge our depend-ence on Him to meet our every need. The true bread we pray for is spir-itual and comes from God, infinite good, who makes and sustains each and every individual and family.
God is inexhaustible good; indestructible substance; abundant Love; unending Life. These God-given spiritual qualities are ever available to man. They are the very essence of man's being. They never wear out and are never in short supply. They feed us; indeed, they are our daily bread.
As I began to understand God's infinitude, my chronic anxiety began to fade. I could see that God, divine Love, just keeps on loving because He is Love. Love simply cannot stop loving! If we listen in prayer, we can hear God's Christ gently telling us so-- every moment, every day.
Christian Science shows us how we can obey Christ Jesus' command ``Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you'' (Matthew 6:33). When we love God first and seek Him only, all needful things follow. God's love is made evident in tangible ways, right here in daily experience.
Jesus' lessons assure us that God is the source of all good and abundantly provides for His creation. They crown thousands of years of Biblical history recording God's care for man. Many people are familiar with the account in Exodus that tells how manna was provided to feed the Israelites as they journeyed through the wilderness to the Promised Land (see Exodus, chap. 16). This does not mean that we just wait for what we need to fall from the sky. And our ``manna'' is not money or things. Right thoughts from God are our true manna. They lead us into paths of right activity. If we follow the path, our daily needs will be met. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, puts it this way in her Miscellaneous Writings: ``God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies'' (p. 307).
Recently as I was thinking about all I had to be thankful for, I suddenly had a completely new view of the tomato experience. The tomatoes were to me an unmistakable sign of God's unfailing provision for me and my family. Years of old anxieties melted into gratitude and praise to God.
Looking back over the year just ended in this new light I see many evidences of God's care that call for joyous gratitude. The Psalmist captures that feeling of gratitude with his praise to God: ``Thou crownest the year with thy goodness'' (Psalms 65:11). Especially, I can now say, I'm grateful for the tomatoes!