According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported by National Public Radio, the unemployment rate in the United States is still hovering close to 10 percent. While the labor market showed modest signs of improvement in March, with a gain of over 160,000 jobs, economists admit there is still a long way to go.
Perhaps more distressing is the fact that many of those who make up the 90 percent of working Americans feel they are underemployed, working only part time or in a temporary job to make ends meet. These folks make up an estimated 1 million so-called “discouraged workers.”
Given these statistics, those still looking for any employment at all often speak of the inevitability of long job searches that will likely end up in defeat or dissatisfaction. With a single-minded focus on just these statistics, it’s easy to feel threatened by the prospect of failure. Instead, we can broaden our view and consider the spiritual prospects sourced in God’s goodness and right at hand.
Years ago I found myself searching for a job in Paris in order to stay near my fiancé. It seemed a formidable task, given that I was thousands of miles from home with little job experience and no leads or even contacts to begin my search. However, as I quietly prayed about this, a simple idea came to me. I intuitively knew that I would one day find a job. Therefore, the job that I would eventually fill was already out there, and my future employer was quite possibly already looking for someone just like me. It reminded me of a Bible verse in the Gospel of John, where Jesus told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (14:2).
Believing that Jesus’ assurance was meant for all of us for all time, I was encouraged by the sense that there was already a place prepared for me. It gave me great peace and joyful anticipation of an open position where I was already needed. With this outlook, my thought expanded to industries I hadn’t considered, and I was inspired to call on companies that weren’t even listing job postings.
One month later, when I went to interview for a job, the people I spoke with were incredulous that I had found them. They had just been informed that an employee with my exact qualifications was moving back to the United States, and they needed to fill her position with another American right away. Both the human resource director and I left the interview thrilled at this timely “coincidence.”
Was it coincidence or luck? I believe that in fact divine intelligence, or God, the source of overflowing goodness and opportunity, speaks to our consciousness constantly, leading us to what will bless us and others. We experience this goodness and opportunity when we calmly and expectantly turn to God and recognize His intelligence guiding our steps, providing ready answers to meet every need.
Whatever the number or limited range of jobs the want ads advertise as available, it’s helpful to understand that there is an infinite source of new ideas and possibilities constantly being revealed all around us. We see evidence of this in the continuous parade of new products and businesses that are introduced. We never know where invention and creativity will crop up next, but we can trust that they will, and that we can be blessed by them.
Mary Baker Eddy, the author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” wrote about the benefits of acknowledging this abundant source: “As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible” (p. 264). Perhaps this seems easier said than done. But it costs us no time or money to open our thoughts to acknowledge the goodness and opportunity all around and to refuse to contemplate defeat and dissatisfaction. And while the outcome of this kind of prayer has endless possibilities, there is one sure consequence: peace.