Several years ago as a young professor with a growing family and a newly purchased home, I was directing a graduate degree program jointly run by two universities in the same city. Then one of the universities unexpectedly withdrew from the agreement, and I lost a third of my income.
I was puzzled that the university broke its commitment to this joint venture, because the program was successful and highly visible and was meeting regional and community needs. I was also angry that the administration did not appreciate my work in establishing the program and getting it nationally accredited.
Efforts over the following year to replace this lost income through consulting and obtaining a part-time franchise were only marginally successful.
I prayed humbly for direction, and my expectations were expanded through studying the Bible and a companion book to the Bible, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper.
Shortly after I began to pray, I was casually speaking with a friend, who is an experienced Christian Scientist. When I mentioned this dilemma, my friend said she thought that I needed a friend there to help me out. I thought she was referring to an influential person at the university, who would speak with some key administrators on my behalf to revive the broken agreement. But I knew no one like that. However, that was not at all the sort of friend she meant. She was referring to another kind of friend - the Christ. She mentioned this verse from a poem by Mary Baker Eddy:
Strongest deliverer, friend of the friendless,
Life of all being divine:
Thou the Christ, and not the creed;
Thou the Truth in thought and deed;
Thou the water, the bread, and the wine.
("Poems," pg. 75)
She also referred to friend as in the familiar Christian hymn from the 19th century by Joseph Scriven, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus":
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
This view of the Christ as a friend is pro-active. Friends confide in and listen to one another. Friends love, care for, and help one another. Friends take pleasure in the good that comes to one another. Friends look out for one another. The Christ is ever-active Love, Principle, and Truth - the presence of a loving companion that one can confide in for guidance in every rightful endeavor.
This insight was powerful. I thought through my motive in praying and realized that the work I had done with the two universities was precisely what I'd been contracted to do, and neither I nor the students had to fall victim to an administrative whim. The ultimate friend, Christ, could be trusted to bring about a resolution to both my need and to the needs of the students involved, although I had no idea how this would occur.
The following week I was asked to attend a meeting that naturally led to contacts with officials who had a significant interest in the success of the cooperative program. The following week, the program was reinstated and so was my position. I coordinated the program for several more years until the agreement was officially completed, and the next year I was awarded a large grant that greatly enhanced and expanded the program within the university whose support had been continuous. This grant continued until I accepted a position at another university.
I couldn't have outlined this kind of resolution. Confiding in a friend for help in resolving a problem may be a good idea, but seeking and following ideas from our ever-present friend, Christ, is the most useful.
Christ is the true idea
voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking
to the human consciousness.
Mary Baker Eddy