About 10 years ago, some friends of mine lost their home because they'd made a few bad investments and one of them had lost her job. They are both fine now, but I thought of that time as I've followed the current challenges in the US housing market. The circumstances are different, but I still wanted to pray for those who, like my friends, are in need of inspired ideas.
As I've prayed, three specific aspects of the situation drew my attention.
The first was the need not to condemn anyone – not the people who thought they could afford to pay the mortgage even after the higher rates kicked in, and not the lenders, either. Whatever the motives behind their actions, it seemed most important to see everyone involved as in God's care. One passage from the Bible that was helpful is from the Apostle Paul: "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28).
At first that might look like it's a promise only for religious people, but all of us are the children of God. He loves each of us and intends only good for us. However challenging a situation may be, if we continue to pray and to trust God, we will receive the guidance we need.
Prayer can also lead to changes in the larger situation. Injustice and greed can be uncovered and corrected. Pride and willfulness can drop away, as humility and openness to new ideas emerge. These latter qualities do much to free us from past mistakes and open the door to new blessings.
The second thought in my prayers is that loss isn't inevitable. I'm not saying that everyone's home will be magically saved; some may end up being foreclosed on. But it is possible for gain, not loss, to be the outcome – whether it is gaining a more spiritual sense of home or more wisdom about one's finances, or working out a way to retain one's home.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, was very clear that we can trust God's guidance in good times and bad. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she wrote: "Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds" (p. 1).
Whatever molding and exalting we may experience, we can trust that God will help us perceive what our true desires are and will enable us to bring our lives and situation into conformity with those genuine, God-inspired desires. And even if we're praying out of love for those who are affected by this crisis, it's right for our desires also to be uplifted and purified by prayer.
Finally, each of us has a home right now that can never be taken from us. No matter what might be happening to the physical place we call home, we have a spiritual home in God. As the Apostle Paul put it, "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts. 17:28).
Within ourselves we each include the spiritual qualities that express what we want our home to be. Beauty, peace, joy, order, love, safety, stability might be among them. But we don't need a physical location to experience them because we already include them in our thoughts and hearts. Our home is simply one expression of them; it isn't the only way these qualities can exist in our lives.
Realizing this reveals how a spiritual approach to the situation can lead to healing and peace, even in the midst of trouble. God will lead us through these challenging times and provide the stability and strength so each individual can find an answer that will meet his or her needs. For my friends, the road back to financial normalcy was tricky, but they were sustained under this effort through God, divine Love. This is the same support our friends, neighbors, and we ourselves can rely on every day.