Maybe next year?

Often we look to the future for some good we feel we now lack. We hope that someday we'll find the person who will make us happy or the job that will fulfill us or the place where we'll fit in. We may hope these good things will happen sooner rather than later, but we're still thinking that the good they represent is in the future rather than in the present.

This line of thinking is a variation on an old theological belief about heaven. Old theology says that things may be bad now, but everything will be good when (and if) we get to heaven. But since all we ever have is the present, this belief would keep a full sense of goodness forever out of reach in this lifetime.

We can challenge this teaching. It is not in accord with the law of divine Love. Jesus didn't subscribe to such a doctrine. He said that the kingdom of heaven is "at hand" – here and now. And he encouraged us to avail ourselves of it: "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? ...Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35).

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When people came to Jesus for healing, he didn't put them off. He didn't expect that attaining good would be a long process. He saw God's goodness as ever present, and everyone as God's loved children, worthy of receiving His goodness in the present. And his instantaneous healings verified this teaching.

I learned a lesson along these lines when my husband and I had two small children but still hadn't been able to afford our own home. I had longed for a place of our own and had expected that with hard work, sacrifice, and patience, we would have one someday. We had bought a building lot three years before, but just when we thought we might be ready to build our house, mortgage interest rates soared, peaking at about 16 percent. Like a balloon caught by a gust of wind, our dream soared out of reach.

I turned to God about what felt like an insurmountable obstacle. A Christian Science practitioner said something that really woke me up. Speaking of our home as an idea already included in God's ever- present goodness, he said, "If you can't afford it now, you'll never be able to afford it." He reassured me that all good has its source in God and is not limited to the future.

Shortly after that, I made more calls to local banks, and one loan officer was very encouraging. Despite the fact that this bank was the most conservative in the area, the loan officer was generous in figuring out how much we could borrow. I began the process of applying for a construction loan. It seemed unlikely we could manage the high interest rates, but I felt God's hand guiding us, and we went forward, expecting good.

By the time our loan was approved several weeks later, mortgage rates had taken a major dip. (The day after our fixed-rate loan was granted, they went back up again.) A young builder gave us a very reasonable price, and we built a lovely small home. Before it was finished, my husband received a raise.

The circumstances of this story may seem exceptional, but to me they prove that God has unimaginable good for each one of us (now), and this good can become visible when we acknowledge God's law of infinite, ever-present good and trust it. It's also helpful to know that good is never confined to something material – never a function of person, place, or thing. Though it may shine through what appears to be matter (such as a home), it's actually an expression of God, Spirit, and so is always present.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her book "Unity of Good": "Jesus required neither cycles of time nor thought in order to mature fitness for perfection and its possibilities. He said that the kingdom of heaven is here, and is included in Mind; that while ye say, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest, I say, Look up, not down, for your fields are already white for the harvest; and gather the harvest by mental, not material processes" (pp. 11-12).

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