My son came home from school one day and said he was required to bring five dried beans to class the next day. The students were going to plant them in damp cotton wool in order to observe their growth. It seemed such a small request, but it was nonetheless beyond our means: We did not have any beans in the house, nor did we have any money at all with which to buy them, as we were facing serious financial difficulties.
It seemed natural to pray in this situation. So I took my son on my knees, and we talked about ideas he had learned in the Christian Science Sunday School. One was that God is our loving Father, and He cannot love or help some of us, His spiritual children, less than others. Another name for God is Love, and God loves all of us infinitely and supplies all we need abundantly.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). This was a “human need,” and I knew that as we turned to God in prayer, our need would be met. We cannot be separated from God and His love. He is in fact infinite, and we cannot be outside His goodness. The Bible tells us that God is our shepherd (see Psalm 23), and a shepherd guards, guides, feeds, and loves all his sheep. God does this for all of us, His ideas.
That day, my daughter had gone straight from nursery school to play with friends. She knew nothing of the need, but when she arrived home, she came running into the house and said happily, “Look what I’ve got!” She opened her hands, and they were full of dried beans. The parents of my daughter’s friends were very keen gardeners, but she had never before brought home any beans. My son’s face just lit up, and his eyes twinkled. His sister said he could choose whatever beans he wanted. The next day at school, his beans – large white ones with maroon splashes on them – were voted the best in the class.
Some weeks later I had the opportunity to apply this great lesson of God’s love for His children again. We were still struggling to make ends meet. One day I walked into my kitchen and found there was just nothing I could prepare for myself and my children for supper. I prayed with the simple truths that had met our needs before, and I saw clearly that God’s children can never lack anything, even for an instant. When suppertime came, I set the table as usual, not knowing what we would have to eat but feeling absolutely confident that God would supply our need.
That evening, some friends came over unexpectedly. They had been picking green beans in their garden and thought we might like some for our supper. I cooked the beans, and we were perfectly satisfied.
Most significantly, we were never again short of a meal. The certainty I had felt when setting the table that our needs would be met was unwavering, and the supply was always there, sometimes in unexpected ways. For instance, I was able to let several rooms in my house on a payment-in-advance basis, and I was offered a part-time job starting immediately.
In later years, when my children needed outdoor equipment, books for school, and an athletic scholarship, their needs were wonderfully supplied. Our gratitude is endless.
This article was adapted from the Feb. 20, 2017, Christian Science Sentinel.