"Growing up in West Virginia, Suzanne Hodges remembers living on what she calls 'relatively meager means' and dreaming of the comfortable security she finally attained in her 30s, complete with big home, Land Rover, and BMW.
" 'I was waiting for that feeling that you would get at the end of a marathon, to say "I did it!" but it never came,' says Ms. Hodges, a financial planner with Merrill Lynch in Huntington. 'What came instead was a lot of anxiety' about losing what she had and needing more to be truly safe" ("When is enough ... enough?" The Christian Science Monitor, March 28).
The author of the article, G. Jeffrey MacDonald, explains that what Hodges describes is seen in the stories of many successful people who continue to need or want more, while not being able to enjoy what they've already gained.
Several years ago I, too, had to sort out some tough issues about money and possessions. Even though I hadn't achieved the level of financial success Hodges had, I was wrestling with that central question: Where does my satisfaction come from?
My car was stolen and demolished. I didn't have much extra money, so losing my car felt like a big loss. I reviewed my options - go without a car, try to replace it with the insurance money I'd get, or save money and buy a car as soon as I could afford it.
But it became clear to me pretty quickly that my greatest need wasn't figuring out what to do about my car; my biggest need was to find some peace.
So I decided to pray as I had done so many other times when I needed an answer. I listened for God's direction. Some questions surfaced: "What do I depend on for my well-being, for my satisfaction? Do I have to have certain material possessions to be happy?"
I'd catch myself looking longingly out my window at the street where my car was usually parked and thinking, "If only I had my car, everything would be OK" and, "If only this hadn't happened, I wouldn't be feeling so tumultuous."
I felt separated from love. That was the problem that I needed to deal with.
I turned to the Bible and found this reassurance: "Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! ... I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love" (Rom. 8:35, 38, "The Message," Eugene Peterson).
Gradually I realized that God's love hadn't disappeared with my car. His love for me wasn't fragile and finicky. Just because I had lost a material possession didn't mean I could be separated from God's goodness.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need," and, "... in every hour, divine Love supplies all good" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 494).
Because God loves me, I could stop clinging to my car, believing that I had to have a car in order to be happy. I let go of outlining, of telling God how He should be caring for me, and instead surrendered to His love. I wholeheartedly admitted that His love was present and that He would know (without my coaching) how to best care for me.
And that's what happened. I felt so peaceful and loved that it didn't really matter to me anymore whether I owned a car. I took public transportation, and friends gave me rides. Eventually I did buy another car. But I'll never forget the lesson I learned: Nothing satisfies me more than knowing God's love, and His love is always with me.
Yea, I have loved thee
with an everlasting love.