I couldn't help noticing how often the word fear has appeared recently in stories about the economy.
There was a time when I trembled at the financial situation in my own life. But what now stands out to me about that time is not the fear but the swiftness and certainty and comfort of God's answer to my prayer.
My city had raging unemployment that exceeded 10 percent. I'd been thrown back into the work force suddenly after a divorce and had no real work skills to offer. Following weeks of going on as many job interviews as possible, which hadn't resulted in one offer of employment, I was terrified that I couldn't support my children or hold on to our house.
One afternoon I quickly retreated into the ladies' room of a large department store, to hide a moment of extreme emotional reaction to this fear. And I prayed to God - earnestly - to help me. It was hard to think clearly at that moment, but quite honestly I remember pushing aside thoughts of ending my life that came from not being able to see a way out of this situation.
As I prayed, something remarkable began to happen. My prayer started to change from a fearful imploring to the Almighty God for help, to a quieter sense of listening to Him. Finally, as I continued to pray, it occurred to me to become willing to let Him govern all the events and the direction of my life. And with this letting go of the need to plan my life came a wonderful and unmistakable calm, even a peace, which covered my whole being.
I can best describe what I felt in one word: trust. Nothing in my present circumstances had changed. But inwardly I had a truly peaceful sense that God was governing all that concerned me. The fear was simply no longer there.
Trusting God with our today, our tomorrow, our eternal future, leads to a greater awareness of His ever-presence. It makes us receptive to the help He is always pouring forth for us, His children. We are, each of us, the children of God. God is our supply of good. All good comes from this all-loving Parent.
There is a long record of proof that God's goodness comes to us to meet our needs. Numerous accounts in the Bible reveal it. A widow was provided with oil to sell to pay her debts, owing to the inspiration of the prophet Elisha; through Moses' trust in God, the Hebrews found water in the desert (once it flowed from a rock!); Christ Jesus fed thousands to satisfaction, multiplying small amounts of fish and bread. Over and over (often it seems out of nowhere), prayer to God provided the answer to fear and lack. People perceived this divine care for their lives and wrote of it. One such passage from the book of Psalms says, "Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed" (37:3). This became the blueprint of what happened to me. I trusted the deep calm that had come to me through prayer.
That very night, while I was praying to understand God more, the telephone rang. It was someone I didn't know, calling me (through a mutual acquaintance's referral) to ask if I might consider caring for her small child full time; she had just accepted a job offer. Within the week, several other people also called, requesting care for their children. Since my children were small (the youngest was only 18 months old), this solution provided not only the income I needed to keep up house payments and put food on our table; it also gave me the opportunity to be at home with my own children longer.
It was an answer to prayer. I had felt God's love, and it had healed my fear of distressing economic conditions. The same love of God is here now. It does for everyone what it did for this small family. Bad economic conditions do not hold power over God, who is unlimited good. It is the other way around; God, infinite good, who has infinite love for all His children, overrules troubling human conditions and the fear of them.
God has given each of us the answer to all human problems. The woman who discovered Christian Science wrote, "Step by step will those who trust Him find that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble' " (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 444).