God cares for us past measure

Faced with the prospect of falling behind on her bills, a woman found comfort in the promise of God’s limitless care for all. This lifted her fear, and tangible evidence of that care soon emerged in an unexpected way.

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Those were some demanding years financially, but I had always been able, through careful budgeting, to pay the full balance of our credit-card bill each month. I was concerned that if I ever got behind, I would never be able to catch up.

But then one month, there was an unexpected drop in my self-employment income, and I had some unavoidable extra expenses. The best I could do was pay the minimum amount and pray.

Pray, you ask? Well, I’ve found through my study of Christian Science that turning to God in prayer whenever I have a need of any kind helps lift me out of human reasoning about pros and cons based on a limited, material context. It expands my sense of the spiritual and sole context for existence: God, the one infinite Mind, illimitable Spirit. As I accept even a little more the idea of God as the infinite creator and sustainer of all of us, it pulls back the limitations of the problem I am having and I see the infinite possibilities of God more clearly.

But on this particular occasion, pray as I might, I just couldn’t get past the fear of being substantially in the red with no foreseeable way to get back in the black. So, I did what I’ve found helpful when I feel helpless and need to feel the promise of care from my loving Father-Mother, God: I opened my “Christian Science Hymnal” for reassurance.

I just opened it at random, and this is what I read:

Trust all to God, the Father,
Confide thou in none other,
He is thy sole defense;
He cares for thee past measure,
Seek Him who has thy treasure,
Thy helper is omnipotence.
(Paul Gerhardt, No. 361, © CSBD)

As I read those words, I imagined a balance sheet that an accountant might use, with credits and liabilities in red and black ink. And then suddenly I saw that past the edges of that ledger and my resources and the credit-card company and the banks and all the money in the world, there was God – sustaining all and being All, and expressing His limitless goodness in all of us, His spiritual ideas, or offspring.

I realized that all our family needed was in perfect balance, “paid in full,” because God is infinite and infinity cannot be more or less than infinite.

This must have been crystal clear to Christ Jesus when he fed thousands of people with a few loaves and fishes (see Matthew 14:14-21). The goods and services we receive in our daily lives are just hints of the underlying spiritual ideas that meet our needs. It’s like the way numbers represent ideas. Numbers are used every day by billions of people, yet they are never personally owned, never wear out, and never get used up. The idea-ness of them remains above and beyond the figures written on a piece of paper. We are free to draw upon these ideas, but cannot own or deplete or lose them.

This is true of the love and care God bestows on each of us, too. The textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, explains, “Allness is the measure of the infinite, and nothing less can express God” (p. 336). And we have a God-given ability to feel and experience God’s allness in tangible ways.

As I prayed with these ideas a line from the hymn came singing its way back into my heart: “He cares for thee past measure.” Of course God cares for us past measure! All human measurements are limited, but the only measure or amount God has and is, is allness.

In those 15 minutes of prayer, all fear left me. The next month, when it was time to pay the bills, I found that an unusually busy month in my business had brought in more than enough income to pay the entire credit-card bill, including the balance and interest from the previous month. And I took that lesson of God’s measureless care for us to heart in more ways than finances. It applies to our health, our strength, our joy, our harmony, our peace. Divine allness is always enough!

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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.