A song made popular by Abba laments, “The winner takes it all/ the loser standing small/ beside the victory/ that’s her destiny” (Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus). The elimination of jobs and closures of facilities have made many people feel that their destiny is to “stand small” as a loser in the face of the economic upheavals that have tattered their hopes. This kind of situation is taking place in Empire, Nev., as reported in a recent Monitor feature, "Slump in construction industry creates a Sheetrock ghost town."
But we don’t need to see ourselves as victims of circumstances. The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, learned to persevere and overcome difficult challenges through prayer and reliance on God. Later, she wrote with heartfelt conviction, “Soul [God] has infinite resources with which to bless mankind...” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 60). Those “infinite resources” are within our reach. She further explained: “Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality.... When the real is attained, which is announced by Science, joy is no longer a trembler, nor is hope a cheat. Spiritual ideas, like numbers and notes, start from Principle, and admit no materialistic beliefs. Spiritual ideas lead up to their divine origin, God, and to the spiritual sense of being” (p. 298).
Spiritual ideas come to us in quiet moments of prayer. The Bible says, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (Ps. 139:16). These thoughts, spiritual ideas, remind us that we are in God’s care. They help reveal possibilities we may not have seen or have considered unrealistic. I’ve seen their practicality.
In 1986, when the price of oil collapsed, my family and I were living in Alaska. The state budget was almost wholly dependant on oil. With each drop in the price of oil, a portion of the budget was lost. Jobs disappeared, and people began leaving the state in droves. In good times, friendly competition can be healthy, but the isolation and extreme conditions of the far north have taught Alaskans that cooperation, not competition, is often the key to survival. Individually we tightened our belts. We also helped one another while seeking ideas on how to move forward.
Mrs. Eddy observed, “Prayer begets an awakened desire to be and do good” (“No and Yes,” p. 39). In town meetings and statewide councils, people explored ideas to bring renewed prosperity. A more diversified economy emerged. Cooperative efforts improved the quality of life and brought many new opportunities.
My study of Christian Science has taught me that we all have a God-given right to experience an abundance of good in our lives. Accepting this fact awakens the strength and courage to resist despair and hopelessness. Intelligence and the creativity that comes with it will lead to new insights and perspectives that broaden our individual and collective horizons. They reveal opportunities to overcome obstacles by applying the new ideas to the circumstances that challenge us. Choosing to listen for and act on these emerging ideas, we’ll be guided and strengthened by their source, divine Mind, and we’ll find solutions.
Our hearts will affirm the fact that life is not a competition, and we’re all winners.
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