ONE day I was reading in the local coffee shop, my custom on Tuesdays and Fridays. A friend had called me that morning, concerned about his final year at college. He just didn't have the money to pay the tuition, and on top of all that his eyes were bothering him and making it difficult to prepare for some important examinations. I had assured him that he would be included in my daily prayers.
It was clear to me that his dominant thoughts were ones of fear and worry. I thought about how worried the disciples of Christ Jesus had been when they saw thousands of men, women, and children with no food. Jesus calmly asked what food was on hand. There were just a couple of fish and some bread.
It sure looked impossible to feed so many! But in the Bible, the book of Matthew says, ''Looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude'' (14:19). Jesus gave thanks to God for already having provided for them, thus moving past what seemed to be an insurmountable material law of supply and demand. He fed everyone-and when they had gathered up the leftovers, there were twelve baskets of food!
As I was reading that day, I came across a paragraph in a book called Christian Healing, written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Christian Science Church. It included this: ''Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me,'-through the footsteps of Truth. Not by the senses-the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, envy, hypocrisy, or malice, the pleasures or the pains of the personal senses-does man get nearer his divine nature and present the image and likeness of God. How, then, can it be that material man and the personal senses were created by God?'' (pp. 16-17).
It was clear to me instantly, from reading that passage, that my friend was worried because of what the material situation looked like. Just as the disciples had been upset when they saw so many hungry people, my friend was upset by a tuition bill and painful eyes. I reasoned that because these problems-phenomena of materiality-were not created by God, they afforded absolutely no proof of reality. They were not facts, because God created all. I knew right then that my friend was the very likeness of good, and that the fear and anxiety he was feeling gave no proof of the truth.
I felt freedom for my friend, as well as for myself, in the assurance that God always provides His children with everything they need. I felt that the situation was healed and that this prayer would bring a solution.
Over the next few weeks my friend called every once in a while, still a little fearful. At these times we affirmed together that lack was not a fact according to the law of God, divine Truth. We also made sure not to forget the beauty of how God had been providing for him all along. Following Jesus' example, we were grateful that he already had all he needed, for as Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need'' (p. 494). These were the facts, and we could trust them.
One day my friend called and said that he had not only made the final payment for the semester, but had also discovered that he had extra money left over! His eyes had stopped bothering him, and he'd passed all his exams with very high scores.
I learned something important during that time of praying for my friend. First, no matter what circumstances are troubling us, they are not the facts of spiritual being. They are unworthy of being considered factual. Second, wonderful results come from turning to God at such times to understand the situation in terms of His perfect creation. I saw clearly that God's children are never limited in any way, and that God alone always fulfills their needs. Giving our attention to this truth brings healing.
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.
II Corinthians 9:10