A family business was humming along comfortably from one day to the next. A husband and wife had started it with minimal resources, but it was growing rapidly. Things looked good until, quite unexpectedly, they suffered a huge loss when a warehouse mishandled their product. It was no longer salable or even usable.
They were deep in debt, and there seemed no way out. In fact, some expected them to file for bankruptcy. But the two owners prayed earnestly for God's guidance. Prayer had led them to start this business in the first place, and they were certain that God wouldn't lead them to an enterprise that was doomed to fail.
One day, when the outlook seemed especially dark, one of them called a friend for help in prayer. The friend quoted the scripture, "The Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save" (Isa. 59:1), and then asked if the woman believed that. There was a brief mental whirlwind as she weighed all her troubles in light of how well God had always met her needs in the past. And she answered, Yes! God could save their business, just as He has helped others down through the ages.
From then on, she worked fearlessly, going to the office in the quiet of the night, checking the day's receipts and praying to know which bills to pay. This passage in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, became an essential part of her business plan: "Whatever needs to be done that cannot be done now, God prepares the way for doing; while that which can be done now, but is not, increases our indebtedness to God. Faith in divine Love supplies the ever-present help and now, and gives the power to 'act in the living present' " ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 12).
Mentally, she would put all the bills that couldn't be paid into an "out" box with God's name on it. She would leave them to God's care and wisdom while she took care of the few bills that could be paid.
Occasionally, an obstacle would appear, making it seem as though nothing could be done. But as she prayed, an inspired thought would always point out something that was simple to do in that moment. "You can be grateful right now," or "You can express joy right now." No sooner would she respond than obstacles would melt away so the work could go forward.
Early on, she had put one of their farms up for sale. Desperate to raise capital, they offered it well below the market value. But months slipped by, and no one even inquired about the property. As it turned out, the business gradually regained financial soundness without an infusion of capital. By year's end, they even had sufficient capital to double their production.
They approached a friendly competitor whose operation was similar to theirs in size, asking if he would consider selling them his business. To their great surprise, he wanted to buy their business. He needed a more reliable labor pool, and their new manufacturing plant was much more efficient than his operation.
Although they'd had no intention of selling, they took a week off to deepen their prayer for guidance. Gradually, it became clear that new horizons lay ahead for their family. So they did sell the business, and on very satisfactory terms, with all 75 of their employees being retained by the new owner. Later, the new owner told an associate that the business became so profitable that he was able to recover the entire cost of the acquisition in just two years.
But that's not all. The original owners and their family soon moved to a new part of the country where there were outstanding opportunities for their children to broaden their education and experience in myriad ways. And their own careers blossomed as well.
God's children are empowered to "act in the living present," and we can be confident that He will always prepare the way for us to accomplish whatever needs to be done.