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Second chances

"Your big break only comes once!" So it's said. It seemed true to one woman. During a housing shortage she was apartment hunting. Miraculously, the first day an ideal apartment came free. In the time it took to phone her fiance for approval, it was gone, snatched out from under.

Months followed of fruitless search. (The "cozy" apartment's tiny bedroom was all platform. When you rolled over, would you fall out of the window? . . . Charming, the reconditioned tenement, until you noticed the local gangs lined up outside, counting the new equipment being moved in. . . . The greenhouse terrace bedroom: very original -- but a goldfish bowl to the people upstairs! Etc., etc., ad exhaustium.)

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"Where luck is wanting, diligence avails nothing" goes an old Spanish proverb , and so it felt. The prayers for home seemed to drop to tugs of war between the kindness of God and cruelty of the chance-concept that opportunity only comes once.

But the Bible never mentions luck. "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart," n1 sings a psalm. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." n2

n1 Psalms 101:2.

n2 Psalms 23:6.

Chance, luck, is the cruelty of matter, not of God. We can reverse it. Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes, "Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony." n4

n3 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 424.

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Staying with God, we never leave true home. Home is a spiritual idea, a taste of heaven. It is made up of the qualities of God's love, beauty, order, harmony, care, sheltering, protection, cherishing comfort, and peace. These qualities are permanent, eternal. We can't be torn from them. They can't be taken from us. They become real to us as we express them. This expressing attracts them to us. The more embrace them in understanding, the more they embrace us in experience.

But you can't imagine happiness into being. You can't design what you want in your head and mail-order it from God. And the great temtptation in those months of searching was to let prayer drift from affirming to imagining, to let the memory of that lost apartment invade thought, paralyze and discourage creative prayer, and stop energetic action. Past possibilities haunting thought make it difficult to assess new opportunities correctly. The dangling image of a missed perfection reduces prayer to wistfulness. But God is not a ghost of what could have been.

In the directions that came in answer to prayer was thought of keeping in touch with the desired building. Never mind that everyone involved -- agent, manager, doormen, a friendly tenant -- all swore absolutely that there was and would be no opening, that everything was sewn up tight.

Finally the tendency to imagine what she wanted instead of affirming what God knew was defeated. Memories were let go, sincere praying established.

One day an apartment opened up. Guess where? In the loved building. The same layout, the same line, only in much better shape! Within the hour the young couple arranged for it.

Your big break only comes once? Not in God's universe! And because you know this, not in your experience! DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thine expectation shall not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

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