A friend told me about living in a large city where trees were scarce. She missed the countryside. At the beginning and end of each long city block there was a lone tree-just one.
But my friend had learned that it is important to be grateful, and she felt she should try to replace her unhappiness over the lack of trees with gratitude. Each time she came to the tree at the end of her block, she would tell herself that this tree was an example of something good in life. She began to reverse her mode of focusing on a lack of trees and to be happy that someone had had the foresight to plant a tree among all the brick, concrete, and glass. She began to enjoy watching the tree's leaves turn colors in autumn and seeing the new buds open in spring. She saw how even just one tree gives shade from the rays of the summer sun.
Before long her family had to move away. They found a house almost surrounded by towering trees. My friend was thrilled to realize that her viewpoint concerning that lone tree had prepared her for this new experience of sufficiency. She saw that an unlimited sense of good had taken shape in her thought. That one tree had been a hint of infinity.
It doesn't make any difference whether limitation confronts you in the form of a scarcity of trees or as just a few pennies to your name. Instead of being downhearted you can see the hint of infinity that is unquestionably there.
This is not wishful thinking. God, who is infinite, is expressed in ideas. We have unlimited ideas. These ideas represent our income. Over the years I've learned a lot from this passage written by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the Science of Christ in 1866: "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for tomorrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307).
Amid scarcity, the primary need isn't for more pennies or more dollars. Actually it is to become more conscious of something you might not have thought of-the activity of God in your life. This activity is a fact. It is always good. The emptiness of human want needs to be replaced with genuine gratitude for the present fact that God is All. Believing that we do not have what we need is the same as believing that God is absent today. But without God, the ever-present creator, there would be no creation at all. The Bible makes clear that God made everything and made it good (see Genesis, chap. 1). With the assurance that comes from learning of God, we can come to agree with something else written by Mrs. Eddy: "No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme" (ibid., p. 277).
Don't be afraid to ask God for the ideas you need today to put food on the table, or even on the plates of the millions of refugees wandering in the world. Many people are looking for God. And they don't have to go far to find His presence, for He is right at hand. It's not really a case of escaping from poverty or scrounging to find good. It's actually a matter of rousing thought out of the conviction that poverty is the fact concerning us, to understanding the facts of God.
When the bondwoman Hagar and her young son were banished from their comfortable home, the book of Genesis says that she saw their supply of water and food exhausted. She was so desperate that she put the child under a shrub, hoping to avoid seeing his death. But the Bible says, "God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink" (Genesis 21:17-19). Once Hagar's eyes were opened to the fact that God was with them, she saw that God had already supplied them right where they were.
Look to God, who is infinite, to provide for each and every legitimate need. Your help is at hand.