What you can afford

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Continuing news about the mortgage lending crisis, the possibility of a recession, and the potential impact on people suggests that affording a home is currently out of reach for many. But before giving up on the idea, it's worthwhile to consider the possibility that prayer could make a difference.

These encouraging words by Mary Baker Eddy describe how misleading a material view of our resources can be: "To calculate one's life-prospects from a material basis would infringe upon spiritual law and misguide human hope" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 319).

What is the spiritual law that provides a basis for hope? It's beautifully described in this Bible verse: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). All good comes from God, impartial, universal Love, the unchanging, unfluctuating source. Coming from Spirit, the good we receive must be spiritual and also unfluctuating. And this spiritual good isn't just an abstract concept; it actually meets our daily needs.

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A mother with two young children longed for a home for her family. While renting an apartment and through careful saving, she and her husband bought a lovely building lot, but by the time it was paid for, mortgage interest rates had skyrocketed to about 16 percent.

One day, quite discouraged, she talked to a Christian Science practitioner about the situation. She'd been believing they would have good, in the form of their home, "someday," but with the increase in interest rates, that home seemed to be in an ever-more distant future.

The practitioner's response broke through her sadness. He said that she and her family would never have more good than they had already because God, the source of their good, was right now pouring out infinite blessings, including the spiritual blessings represented by home ownership. He agreed to pray with them to see that substance manifested in a practical way.

She loved the idea that all the good she'd been waiting for was, in a spiritual sense, already theirs. It changed her outlook and made her expectant of an answer.

Within a short time her husband found extra work, and she found a loan officer willing to give them a modest loan. They also found a builder who was starting out and whose hourly rate was extremely reasonable. Still, that 16 percent interest rate meant they would be hard pressed to make payments on even the small home they planned to build.

They listened for God's guidance and felt impelled to go ahead. While they were waiting to see if the loan would be approved, mortgage interest rates steadily dropped. On the day their loan was approved, the rate was locked in at 11 percent. Within a few days the rates began to rise again and climbed back up several points. They were grateful they had been led to take action at just the right time. They built a beautiful home, which blessed them abundantly.

We, too, can give up the feeling that good is in a receding future or that we lack the resources we need. When Jesus asked his disciples to feed the multitude in the wilderness, they were skeptical. "This is a desert place," they said, "and the time is now past; send the multitude away." It was as if the disciples had said, "This is the wrong place and the wrong time" for people's needs to be met. But Jesus knew God's infinite goodness to be ever present and ever available. He fed the thousands with food that seemed to come out of nowhere (see Matt. 14:14-21).

That same law of Love's provision – that same divine Principle – is available to us. Listening for God's guidance, we can find unexpected solutions – even the possibility of home ownership in the midst of economic instability. There is nothing unstable about divine Love and its care for each one of us.

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