"Who can you trust these days?" My neighbor was keenly disappointed over the apparent loss of a substantial sum of money he had given a photographer (just as we had) for a promised portrait of his boy.
Months before, the photographer had come to many of the houses in the neighborhood showing what was then a new phenomenon: large portraits in color. Very soon after we had made our deposits and had our sittings, the studio was sold to a new owner, who assured delivery of all orders.
Month after month passed. No word on the finished portraits came. Some of our neighbors decided to take their grievance to small- claims court. I, too, was disappointed, but I determined not to "know" a dishonest man. The Psalmist had said long ago, "I will not know a wicked person."n1 The New English Biblem translates this passage, "I will have no dealings with evil."
n1 Psalms 101:4;
Every time the thought of that man who had a responsibility toward us came to me, I quickly and forcefully set aside any resentment or blame. I declared, as I had come to understand in Christian Science, that God, Truth, was in complete, overarching control. I knew God's law of perfect harmony was actively at work in consciousness, and I held to the truth of man's perfect integrity. In a similar way, I thought, Christ Jesus must have held to the truth of Peter's perfect spiritual character and susceptibility to divine law even in the face of Peter's repeated denials of his Master, loss of the disciple's courage, and his hiding from promised fidelity. With the Apostle Paul, I wanted to "hold fast that which is good."n2
n2 I Thessalonians 5:21.
A year and a half passed. There was enough outward evidence of neglect to prompt doubt and disgust, but I held firmly to what is real, the truth of man's being. I wanted to keep my thought clear and clean. Mary Baker Eddyn3 states, "Todivest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, -- this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true."n4
n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health with key to the Scriptures,m p. 428.
Why should I have been surprised when, late one afternoon, the doorbell rang, and there stood the photographer. He said that he really hadn't intended to honor those deposits when he took over the studio long ago, but that month after month he just couldn't get us out of his mind. He said the conviction grew in him that he just could not cheat us.
So he took the large folder from under his arm and produced a truly handsome likeness of our fifteen-year-old. Now, every time my wife and I look at that portrait we see far more than a smiling face. We see again the evidence of the caring, powerful God, ever present in the life of each of us. DAILY BIBLE VERSE And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it . . . Isaiah 30:21