'That Nothing Be Lost'
Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.
WE have had an unusually dry year in our area. News reports have used the term drought, and I have found myself remembering a time of drought that occurred a number of years ago. We were then in our third year of below-normal rainfall, and many types of water use had become restricted by law. Daily news reports estimated the number of days' worth of water left in the reservoirs.
We had our own well, so we were not dependent on the reservoirs. But this was not a source of confidence, for our well was a shallow one, and especially sensitive to droughts. I felt I needed to pray to know what our course of action should be.
Answers that came to me were from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. Being a Christian Scientist, I had studied these two books. I knew I could pray about any problem, including a drought, and that prayer would reveal a solution.
The thought that came to me first was a phrase, "the affluence of our God." This appears in a sentence from Science and Health that reads in full, "We shall obey and adore in proportion as we apprehend the divine nature and love Him understandingly, warring no more over the corporeality, but rejoicing in the affluence of our God" (p. 140). I had always loved this description, which spoke to me of the abundance of God's goodness. Praying does indeed involve "obeying" and "adoring" God. In my study of Christian Science I had learned of God's provision for us, His children. I was confident that He would meet this present need, for as Mrs. Eddy also wrote, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (Science and Health, p. 494). Trusting in God's provision, I vowed that fear would not be a basis for our actions. Fear is not created by God, who is Love.
This idea of affluence led me to think of the times I'd read of when Christ Jesus fed thousands, beginning with what looked like a seriously deficient amount of food. In an account given in the Gospel of John, Jesus fed about five thousand people with five barley loaves and two small fish. The book of John says that after everyone had eaten, Jesus instructed his disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost" (6:12). They filled twelve baskets with those "fragments." The leftovers were more than what they had started with!
Clearly, Jesus had not been afraid that there would not be enough food. Instead, he taught that every crumb of God's provision was to be valued and appreciated. None of that provision was meant to be scorned or wasted. Isaiah records God as saying, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (55:10, 11).
Here was the basis for my own action. I strove to avoid waste-not from fear, but from gratitude for the opportunity to value what we did have presently. I tried to appreciate every bit of what we had-literally every drop of water-as representing God's provision for us, which could never be insufficient. I found ways to gather and use the "fragments" that might otherwise be wasted because they seemed so insignificant. As I consciously felt gratitude to God each time I used the water, I began to feel greatly enriched. Then I felt no need to check the water level in our well, for I was now trusting completely that we would have what we needed.
Not long afterward, some heavy rains fell in the area of the reservoirs, restoring them to higher levels. Then a more normal rainfall pattern followed, and the water restrictions were lifted. The lesson I had learned was for all time, and it wasn't just to be glad that it had rained. It was, first, to comprehend the fullness of God's blessing, and then to remember I must make full use of this blessing. It was to understand something Christian Science clarifies: that, as we are grateful for the goodness that is already in our lives, we are prepared to receive more.