A few years ago, I had a store in New York City with a high monthly rent. I had no trouble paying the rent until there was a sharp downturn in the economy. The day before my next rent payment was due, I found myself short by a considerable sum. We had almost no customers after the economic downturn, so I seemed to have no prospects for sales. In addition, there was a penalty for a late rent payment, and the thought of compounding the problem made me more distraught.
My first inclination was to vilify my landlord, thinking of him as greedy, and lacking in understanding and compassion. But as I so often have done throughout my life when I find myself in a situation where I think there is no way out, I turn to God for answers, as Christ Jesus showed us how to do. I try to follow the Bible’s admonition: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
I asked God what I could do to better understand His love for everyone, including me, at that moment. It came to me very clearly that I needed to love my landlord, not resent him. I started thinking about all the kind and generous things he had done for me when I first became his tenant. I felt appreciation for the beautiful space I was able to rent from him and the care he took in making sure it looked just the way I wanted it to look. But most important, I was able to feel love for him because I knew he was a spiritual child of a God that is only good. That’s the truth about all of us.
I also made an effort to focus on all the good I did have, instead of focusing on what I didn’t have. Rather than feeling burdened, I began to feel blessed. My resentment and frustration quickly turned to gratitude.
As I sat at my desk praying, a customer came through the door – a rare sight for the previous several weeks. He went straight to two pieces of merchandise that, under normal circumstances, would have required much discussion, negotiating, and time to sell. Without hesitation he took out his form of payment and said he wanted to buy them. The combined price of these two items totaled exactly the amount I needed for the rent.
I could have thought this was a coincidence, but I have seen too many times how trusting God, the source of all good, turning to Him in prayer, and striving to love better, results in many kinds of needs being met with great precision. In this situation, relying on God provided the supply of right thoughts that were needed so I could see myself and my landlord as God had created us both – perfect and cared for by divine Love.