The scene was New York City. Two roommates were looking for an apartment. And they were just about to learn a lesson in not limiting one's prospects.
I was one of them. And I remember how eagerly we looked forward to having our own place. But this was New York City! Rents were high, and the demand for apartments was tremendous. What could two young women with high hopes - but an unimpressive combined salary - expect to find?
A favorite pastime of ours was taking walks in the nicest parts of the city and imagining that we lived there, in some lovely town house or chic apartment building. Then we'd laugh at the thought. But on one of these walks, as we looked longingly at an area that seemed well beyond our reach, we began talking about the way we were looking at things.
Although we were young, we'd both had some experience in learning that the critical element in any situation is not the situation itself - but one's spiritual viewpoint. That is, the way one thinks of things in relation to God. We both saw that we should stop thinking of ourselves in a certain category, with a certain economic status. We were children, daughters, of God. And God is infinite - infinite Love. And infinite Love doesn't know limitation at all, and certainly doesn't categorize its children.
It wasn't long before we heard about an individual who wanted to rent a condominium that he hadn't been able to sell. He quoted a rental amount that was surprisingly reasonable - but still a little high for our means. Then he agreed to deduct a little more from the rent. And we were in some wonderment. The place was in our favorite part of the city. It even had a doorman!
During the time we stayed in that apartment, people often asked how we could afford to be there. It really was not a question of affording; it was a question of being willing to stop the way we had been mentally placing ourselves in categories. Instead of deciding ahead of time what the limits would be, and closing the door on great possibilities, we had begun refusing to place any limits on God's gifts.
What's the authority for believing that such an experience as ours wasn't simply lucky or coincidental, but rather was what we felt to be the effect of God's law? For us it was the Bible. There are literally hundreds of promises of good for those who obey God. One of these is found in Psalms: "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing" (34:10). Like a beautiful golden thread, this theme of divine care for those who place their trust in God is woven throughout the Bible.
And there are numerous examples of this divine provision. In the book of Second Kings, the prophet Elisha encourages a destitute widow to trust God (see 4:1-7). After learning that she has but one little pot of oil, he tells her to borrow more containers, and to fill them from that one little pot. She is able to fill all of them! This provides income for her and her sons because they can sell the oil and make money on it. Some may say that this is a story of miraculous divine intervention. But a better view might be to see it as a simple illustration that trust in a good and omnipotent God, along with a willingness to drop a very limited and desperate outlook, opens the way for us to see that good is already here with us.
The woman who in 1866 discovered Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote that "divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 494). It's not that God manipulates a situation for a chosen few, but that as we begin to drop limited (material) ways of thinking and get a glimpse of God as infinite Love (a spiritual understanding of existence), we find our lives changing for the better.
The promises of the Bible mean that we are capable of replacing fear with trust, and anxiety with calm expectancy, resting assured that God gives abundant good. This is a fact that will bring blessings to any situation.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society