The slice of cool breeze that cut into the warm fall air foretold a cold winter. With a house heating system that had been starting and stopping for over two years, what were we to do? If a snowstorm prevented a technician from reaching our house, how long would our family last in the cold?
With the icy winters we endured, these were real fears that left me and my husband worried, frustrated, and anxious.
I lost track of how many different technicians had been to our house – none of them could fix our relatively new boiler for more than a few weeks at a time. We had switched companies and tracked down experts, but no one could figure out the problem.
My husband and I were in the basement when a seasoned technician from a new company we had hired began to play the same broken record of phrases: “I’m not sure what’s going on – it doesn’t make sense.” If that wasn’t enough, he then informed us that without even being able to fix the problem, just having him look at the boiler would cost over double the price I thought I had been quoted over the phone.
Our frustration and outrage were at the boiling point. All human help had been utterly useless. I felt the only place I could turn to was God. So I reached out whole-heartedly in prayer.
A thought came that I needed to change my view of the situation. This was a pretty surprising idea – that in order to fix our boiler, I had to change my thinking. But as I thought about it, I realized that I had been grossly misjudging the technician's intelligence and doubting his abilities, and saw that this had to stop.
Just as Jesus taught his disciples, I needed to halt this negative behavior and “judge not” (Matthew 7:1). He rebuked his listeners by saying, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
I needed to see things differently. And that view needed to come from a spiritual understanding of God and man. If we are made by God, who is infinite intelligence, how could we be without understanding, and how could anyone lack the ability to see things correctly – so unlike this omniscient Mind? I was beginning to see that we are actually all made to be wise and loving, and I was confident that this spiritual perspective would reveal answers. This elevated understanding had completely changed my view. Rather than think despairingly of the technician, I deeply valued what he had to offer, and I truly appreciated him.
During that change of thought – and heart – the situation had also begun to change. The technician said he now had an idea about what the problem might be. And when he investigated further, he did uncover the issue and was even able to offer us discounts toward the cost of the repairs. I was astounded at how quickly this change in thought had revealed a solution.
There were no more failures after that visit. My family stayed warm throughout the winter, and in a recent maintenance check, no issues were found. I couldn’t be more grateful – not only for the fix, but for the God-inspired view that brought healing answers.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old selfishness, satisfied with having prayed for something better, though we give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests by living consistently with our prayer? If selfishness has given place to kindness, we shall regard our neighbor unselfishly, and bless them that curse us; but we shall never meet this great duty simply by asking that it may be done” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 9).
My prayers hadn’t begged God to fix the boiler or asked Him to make me love people. They were inspired by a confident trust in Him that an all-knowing and all-acting God had created us to be knowledgeable and right-acting. I just had to see this spiritual view, and doing so made me undoubtedly love my neighbor more. This lesson continues to help me love others better – and to keep my fears and frustrations from running rampant.