From hope to solutions in uncertain times

We may sometimes wish for a way to peer into the future, something to reassure us that we’re on the right path. When one young family faced economic uncertainty, earnest prayer brought the realization that one can never be without God’s goodness and care – which shed light on a solution.

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We all want a crystal ball sometimes, a way to peer into our future just enough to stop fear or anxiety. Usually, at the heart of this searching is the desire for a future filled with good, the knowledge that we’re on the right path. I’ve certainly felt that way at times in my life.

Astrology, horoscopes, palm reading – there are many practices that purport to offer some glimpse of the future or explanation for one’s life. But the best advice I’ve found has come from wisdom in the Bible – from prophets and spiritual teachers who listened to God for direction and confidence. And what’s great is that we all have a relation to God, our creator. We, too, can turn to the Divine at all times for comfort and guidance.

Our family experienced this at a very uncertain time when my husband was laid off during an economic downturn. Our three children were all young, and I had left my teaching career to care for them full time.

As we thought about how to move forward, my husband and I both prayed earnestly for direction, and we experienced tangible evidences of God’s care for our family. Still, a long-term solution was elusive, as each month that passed brought with it promising opportunities that never came to fruition.

Over the years I have turned again and again to a Bible passage that conveys the writer’s conviction in God’s care. The Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it this way: “‘For I know the plans I have for you’ – this is the Lord’s declaration – ‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you’” (Jeremiah 29:11, 12).

What a calming, comforting verse! It was written by a prophet named Jeremiah. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, described a “prophet” in part as a “spiritual seer” (p. 593). To me, this has come to mean that what we see and experience with our eyes doesn’t tell us the whole story. The underlying truth is that God is limitless goodness and that goodness is expressed in all of us, God’s spiritual offspring, at every moment.

Realizing this is not always an easy task, especially when things look bleak. But when we turn in prayer to God for guidance, we begin to see things through a spiritual lens that bolsters our confidence in the constant good that divine Spirit promises and bestows on us.

That’s what my family experienced. One weekend afternoon, I was praying to be open to solutions I hadn’t considered before. That’s when it occurred to me that I, too, could look for employment. I had been pretty adamant about staying home with my kids. But in my case, I could see that this was actually willfulness that had kept me from considering that a different path might be right for our family.

So I heeded this advice in the Bible: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21). I felt inspired to browse some job listings, and that very day I found a posting with an organization that lined up perfectly with both my personal needs and professional aspirations. I felt without a doubt that it was the right direction for our family, despite requiring a cross-country move – definitely not what I’d thought would be in store for us!

With the family’s support, I applied and was soon offered full-time employment. This eventually resulted in a whole new career path that was both meaningful and supportive of our growing family over the ensuing years. I was still able to be present and available while raising our children, and in time my husband also found employment that led to a career that has lasted until this day.

It’s enough to know that God is guiding us. When we humbly listen and follow, we can’t help but feel hope for the future and experience more tangibly God’s care for us.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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