I sighed and prayed for patience. This was the third conversation I'd had with an outside vendor who, once again, had called with a project-ending crisis – an unsolvable problem that meant the brochure they were producing would not be printed. And, if the brochures were not printed within 24 hours, there would be no one attending the event for which they were designed. Non-attendance meant no business.
The project had begun fairly smoothly. But then there was one problem after another with the printing house, and it was my job to oversee the production process. This was the third deal-breaker, and over the next 24 hours, there would be others.
I knew no other recourse but prayer.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, described how to pray effectively. Echoing Jesus' instructions, she wrote: "... we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 15).
That process is exactly what was required of me – and not once or twice, but many times over that two-day period.
The understanding I needed had to do with the character of God's goodness. As the problems continued, it was tempting to become angry, to think that these problems were not my problems, but the print shop's.
So I did what Mrs. Eddy advised. After the first few calls, I decided to turn away from the pronouncements – shut the door on them – and instead turn my thought to God and His divinely intelligent presence. During the first few conversations, I came up with workable solutions, and the print shop agreed to go forward with each suggestion.
But after the third call, I was angry. The fee being paid, I fumed to myself, was certainly being earned – but by me, not by the print shop. They needed to stop calling me and solve these problems themselves.
However, I reminded myself that these thoughts were not ones that could come from a loving, intelligent, all-present God. I got back into the closet by shutting out not only the project-ending suggestions, but my reactions to the shop personnel. I realized that what I needed to do was "plead God's allness."
Only then did I realize what eventually healed this situation. I realized that God was present in the print house and in my house. In the Bible I found this passage: "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (I Cor. 12:4-6).
Suddenly it didn't seem important where the solutions to the problems came from. God was working this situation out, and I became grateful rather than angry, because the God-impelled remedies could be worked out immediately. It didn't matter whose thought produced the solutions – the point was that there was a solution to every problem. This proved to be the case.
We had more problems to resolve, but the operative word "we" had entered my vocabulary – a "we" born of God, whose allness lovingly embraced everyone involved.
In the end, the brochures were produced, the event attended, and the business secured.
Since that time, I've applied the increased understanding of God's allness and His comprehensive solutions to all sorts of issues. His love and goodness embrace all. I'm seeing that there are solutions to problems that look unsolvable.
Ah Lord God! ... there is nothing too hard for thee.