THE news media-including this newspaper-have done much to inform us about the impact of ''downsizing.'' Downsizing takes place when companies reduce the size of their staffs in order to be more competitive in today's economy.
One night, after reading one of these accounts, I found it hard to overcome the feeling that the people who lost their jobs were being deprived of useful activity. Turning to prayer for inspiration, I thought of Christ Jesus and of his teaching that we should think of God as our Father. Certainly Jesus always had plenty of useful healing work to do, and he confidently relied on his Father-who is also our Father-for all his needs.
Through my study of Christian Science, I had learned that I could follow the Master's example in trusting God. I had also accepted the fact that each of us is spiritual, created by God specifically to express His qualities. Among these are love, intelligence, joy, honesty, goodness, and wisdom. All of us can exhibit these qualities, whether we are file clerks or airline pilots, teachers or engineers. As I thought about employment in this way, I felt almost as though I worked for the ''family firm''-the head of the corporation being God and the ''family'' being His sons and daughters!
This gave me a smile, but it also reminded me that God always has a good purpose for each of His offspring. Christ Jesus once told his followers, ''In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you'' (John 14:2). We can take this promise as an indication that God does care for our human needs, including the right to have satisfying work.
Some months after this incident, the group of people I was working with was told that we would be going through a process that could lead to downsizing. It soon became clear that the reorganization would eliminate the work I had been doing. At first, I felt both abandoned and fearful. Then I recalled the insight I had had while praying about downsizing long before I needed to face it.
I knew that my good and loving Father would naturally take care of all His children all the time. This meant that I could be confident, even in the midst of change, that He would care for me and my co-workers. All of us can pray to know God's presence and guidance in this way, whether we are unemployed, downsized, or feeling cramped by the work we are doing. As God's children, we all belong to the ''family firm.''
My confidence in God's government of my life grew stronger, and I saw that the new work plan would lead to many blessings for the organization and its products. It became easy for me to support this forward step because I knew that God's love includes all His children and that none of us could be left out.
As I prayed to know what to do regarding employment, I concluded that I should keep working on my present assignment instead of seeking work elsewhere. When the reorganization was complete and my job was over, another group within my organization that produced a similar product offered me a position. What was particularly nice about the new assignment was that it involved taking on work that I had been interested in for some time.
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy makes clear that God's love is ever present and unfailing. The Discoverer of Christian Science writes, ''Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds'' (p. 1).
Each of us desires to be useful and to help others. Because we are children of divine Love, God, it is as natural for us to have this outlook as it is for the sun to rise. Yet in times of change, it may be hard to keep a loving thought uppermost. Fear, confusion, and doubt may seem like more vocal companions than divine Love. This is where we need to insist on the spiritual facts. No loss-to us or anyone else-can occur when we subordinate our will to God's. His will for us is only good. I know, because that's what happened to me!
While your employment situation may well be different from mine, we each can trust our desire to the care of an all-loving God. When you work for a ''family firm'' that is headed by infinite Love, there will always be opportunities for useful and satisfying work.