DOES God ever give up on anyone? Can anyone ever be beyond God's help? I used to wonder about questions such as these. Here's how I found out that God will always help each one of us--even if others (or we ourselves) think we've done something irresponsible.
I had embarked on a new career in a new town. I was working on commission and things weren't going well. My wife and I felt the decision had been God-directed, yet the struggle seemed long and difficult. We constantly studied the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist.
As we studied and prayed, the Bible gave us ample evidence that past actions can be overcome and forgiven--even if they go beyond being unwise to actually being dishonest, as the story of Jacob illustrates. Jacob had cheated his brother Esau out of his inheritance. When Esau threatened to kill him, Jacob fled and lived for many years in a foreign land. When God directed him to return home, he was still afraid of what his brother might do. This fear forced him into a night of prayer. The next morning, he and Esau greeted each other as long lost friends. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy explains the result of Jacob's night of prayer. She writes: ``He had conquered material error with the understanding of Spirit and of spiritual power. This changed the man. He was no longer called Jacob, but Israel,--a prince of God, or a soldier of God, who had fought a good fight'' (p. 309).
We weren't in Jacob's position by a long shot! Yet my wife and I did wonder if our family and friends were thinking we'd been foolish to leave a secure family business for this uncertain venture. Jacob's spiritual wrestling, however, helped us to see that God is the one Supreme Being and creator; He is not confined to a corporeal body, but is infinite and all-powerful. Christian Science uses Biblically based synonyms--Spirit, Life, Mind, Truth, Principle, Soul, Love--to define God. And because man is the child of God, he expresses and reflects all that these synonyms imply. They describe my--everyone's genuine identity. So I began to reason that because God is Spirit, man, that is myself, is spiritual; because God is Mind, man is intelligent and wise; and so on. Our Father-child relationship to God is indestructible. This fact is basic to our welfare because it assures us that God always cares for us, His children.
Christ Jesus understood that each of us is worthy of God's help. He understood God's tender and totally loving relationship with His creation, including man, and this understanding gave him his healing power. The Christ-spirit that Jesus so naturally expressed changed people's lives.
My wife and I could see that God would not let us down. We took to heart these words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: ``Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you'' (Matthew 6:31-33).
As the years passed my wife and I saw that the career change was one of the best decisions we had ever made. It gave us the opportunity to set a course Spiritward. The good that has come to us as a result is so abundant that it would be hard to measure. Yet what we treasure most is the spiritual growth that came out of our struggle to understand God better. Just as Jacob was transformed by his long night of prayer, our years of prayer gave us a new life, and peace and security founded on spiritual values.