The answer was there before my prayer even began. That’s what I learned several years ago on a Saturday morning, when I was director of a private school in Colorado. I was surrounded by a mountain of work needing completion before 100 children arrived on Monday for the first day of school – and no one to help!
New equipment, textbooks, etc., had just been delivered, and everything needed to be unpacked, assembled, and put into place. Parents often volunteered to help, and I expected 15 to 20 of them to assist me that day. I arrived at 8 a.m., but by 10 o’clock no one had showed up, not one person. As I sat at my desk, I found myself condemning the parents, feeling panicked, and out of options.
But then I recognized that God was nowhere in that picture. In Proverbs it counsels us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (3:5, 6, New King James Version). Pausing – taking a step back – from a mental state of fear and panic allows us to open thought to God, so that’s what I did.
I let go of what seemed like the dead end in front of me and instead focused on what I had learned in Christian Science of the omnipotence and omniscience of God. I turned my thinking away from the discouraging picture and endeavored to see only the reality of God’s ever-present love and care. In humility I asked, “What do I need to do, Father, to honor You right here and now?” The answer came clearly: “Love the parents and know that I am always with you.”
I obeyed that directive, and I found a sense of peace and calm come over me as I started thinking about the wonderful qualities each of the parents had brought to the school. I decided to cherish those qualities rather than judge them on the decisions they had made that day. At this point I could feel God’s presence and felt confident that all was well.
As I sat joyfully praying at my desk, I was startled to suddenly find a young man standing in front of me looking rather sheepish. He dropped a piece of paper on my desk and told me he had been assigned to the school for two weeks of community service after receiving a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol. Seeing this precious young man’s obedience in showing up for his assignment as an answer to my prayers, I rejoiced. And he was able to accomplish everything I needed that day.
And not only that, but my husband and I and our two young children had just moved into a new home and needed help unpacking and setting up. We were able to pay this young man to help us out in our home. He was curious to know more about my belief in God, since I told him I had been praying before he showed up. He loved hearing about how God works in our lives, and discovered a newfound sense of accomplishment and confidence. He assured me he would never again do something so foolish as driving under the influence of alcohol. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for bringing us together.
As a lifelong student of the Bible, I’ve learned that those who turn to God, in gratitude and childlike trust, can’t fail to find answers to their needs. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have to help us navigate life’s challenges. And how beautiful it is to know that God knows what we need before we ask! As it plainly says in the book of Matthew, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (6:8, NKJV).
This makes sense when we consider the expansive definition of God given in the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. It defines God in part as “the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal” (p. 587).
When we’re in desperate need of a solution, we may think we should be taking matters into our own hands, or trying to solve the problem from our limited vantage point. But God has us covered, and quietly acknowledging the divine presence and power is greater than anything else we can do.
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