Praying through the curves
What can we do when sudden upheaval arrives at our doorstep? Where can we turn?
I remember when I was called to a meeting announcing a newly formed team within our office. Before the team was formed, I was originally hired to be on that team. While I worked the year before, I was assured I would be on that team. After all, it was why I was hired.
However, to my surprise and despair, I was not put on the team. Instead, when the team was introduced I stood there in confusion and dismay. I wouldn’t be honest if I said I wasn’t tempted to feel angry in that moment. But instead of choosing that path, I turned quietly to God. I was humbly yearning to know what I should do. I wanted to know how to handle this surprise that was thrown in my direction. Had I been playing baseball I probably would have felt more like I was hit with the ball rather than just thrown a curveball. But, in any case, I knew I had to move forward. But how?
Going into my proverbial closet of quiet prayer, as Jesus instructs us, I asked for God’s guidance. I thought at first that the answer I would most likely get from God would be to just forgive and endure. To my surprise a slightly alternate instruction came: “Forgive… and look for a different job.” I thought, really? But I thought if the idea to look for a new job came from God, it couldn’t be wrong. And if I heard incorrectly, I wouldn’t find an opening that was apparent, or worth applying for.
But sure enough, I found a job online that looked and sounded perfect. I contacted the Human Resources department (HR) and submitted my resumé for consideration. Within a couple weeks I had an interview where my interviewer and I hit it off right from the get-go. I thought, “Wow! this feels great. I can’t wait for the second interview.” But what is more, the HR representative called me within an hour and said when do you want to start. To me, this lesson helped me see three things:
- When we get surprised, to whatever degree, turning to God, divine Love, in prayer is the first step.
- Having a humble heart and a willingness to let go of our preconceived notions of what should happen, or what should have happened, helps us to get clearer messages of God’s guidance.
- Having faith and trust in what God tells us, and acting on His directions, is a requirement, too.
Since then, when other moments like that one arose, one thing that has helped me greatly is knowing that whenever God, divine Love, gives us directions, Love’s directions include a sense of peace. So when a good idea comes from Love, this new idea also brings a peaceful feeling that assures it’s good and that it’s from God.
On the other hand, if I feel anxious, worried, or fearful, these things help me to pause and pray more — to listen more deeply for God’s directions. Often in these moments of doubt and fear, I find myself turning to The Holy Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. These books provide wonderful means to help quiet those restless feelings and also gain a more spiritual understanding of God’s infinite goodness.
Yes, it seems that many of the surprises we seem to experience appear to be about a job, relationships, finances, etc. However, I truly believe these upheavals really point us toward an underlying and greater need at hand — to understand God better. This understanding shows us that God is our true source of supply, happiness, satisfaction, and more.
I also feel these are opportunities!
These moments show us that learning more about what God is, rather than trying to fix a material circumstance or a physical problem, is what truly heals our woes. Understanding God better helps us to also grasp the reality of being made in God’s image and likeness (as the Bible says) — and that this is an eternal and changeless fact.
This truth is true for each of us and no curve ball, difficulty, nor sin, can reverse the eternal reality that each of us is forever kept safe and protected by divine Love.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
—Revelation 21:4-5 (NIV)
We ask the helmsman: “Do you know your course? Can you steer safely amid the storm?” He answers bravely, but even the dauntless seaman is not sure of his safety; nautical science is not equal to the Science of Mind. Yet, acting up to his highest understanding, firm at the post of duty, the mariner works on and awaits the issue. Thus should we deport ourselves on the seething ocean of sorrow. Hoping and working, one should stick to the wreck, until an irresistible propulsion precipitates his doom or sunshine gladdens the troubled sea.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 67