Competing for a spot? Think again.

When a student was faced with a major roadblock to taking a crucial exam, realizing that God meets our needs empowered him to feel calm and confident that a solution would emerge – as it did, just in time.

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I had been preparing for my TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam for a while. This test was very important, because I had been studying English at the Congo American Language Institute, and I needed to have my language skills assessed so I could complete my coursework and graduate.

My studying for the test was going fine, and I felt prepared and fairly calm. But then, a few weeks before test day, when I was trying to sign up for the exam, I couldn’t find a seat to take the test in my hometown. It seemed that the only option was to take the test in another city. That would be expensive, though, and there was no way I could afford it. I also didn’t want to delay taking the exam, because I needed the results not just to graduate, but also if I wanted to apply to university.

Even though I was a bit worried, I knew from what I’d been learning in the Christian Science Sunday School I attended that there was something I could do. I could pray. Prayer is a way of seeing that God, who is good, is in control, and understanding this brings needed adjustments to our lives.

I thought about a verse I knew from the Bible’s book of Psalms: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (23:1). Why is it that we can’t want for anything? Because our divine Shepherd, God, is Love, always loving and caring for us. I love what Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, says about divine Love’s supply for all of us: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 494).

It was so reassuring to remember that God supplies our every need, even when a situation seems hopeless. This includes a permanent place in His universe, which no one can take from us, and which we can’t take from anyone else. Since divine Love provides each of us with whatever we need at every moment, there is no competition for good of any kind. So I could see that the absence of a seat for me to take the test could not be the reality of the situation.

While it was tempting to ask God to fix things, I realized that I didn’t need to, because, as Science and Health states: “God is not influenced by man. The ‘divine ear’ is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied” (p. 7). I realized that my prayers were not so much about asking God for something, as about simply understanding and trusting Love’s provision for all of us. I became calm and felt God’s love for me and everyone.

I continued preparing for the test, leaving the rest to God and feeling so sure that something good would happen. And it did! Two weeks before the end of registration, I received an email telling me that new test rooms had been added for my city. This gave me the opportunity to sign up for the test with no additional expenses.

Isn’t it great when we trust God to take care of us? I keep learning more about God’s care, and that we really can have what we need without competing with anyone else.

Adapted from an article published in the Christian Science Sentinel’s online TeenConnect section May 21, 2019.

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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.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.