A Christian Science perspective.
Whether we live in the United States, in Europe, or some other part of the world, economic conditions, especially in nations with large amounts of debt, seem intractable. Economic analysts make many dire predictions for the future. One day as I was praying about this issue, I had a flash of insight: Prophecies of doom and gloom have to be false because they dishonor the goodness of God. When this thought first struck me, it was the word dishonor that really stood out.
God’s goodness is always with us, and we dishonor God when we doubt His care. The prophet Isaiah declared, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1). It’s only when we turn away from God and ignore His omnipotence that problems seem too big. As we prayerfully listen for God’s direction and follow it, we find the answers we need. And we are also honoring God.
These were helpful thoughts, but how could I pray for the healing of something like the deficit? The next idea was that a harmful deficit has no more claim to persist than a disease has to exist. As a Christian Scientist, I’ve seen disease healed many times through prayer. Mary Baker Eddy states in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The procuring cause and foundation of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin. Disease is always induced by a false sense mentally entertained, not destroyed. Disease is an image of thought externalized. The mental state is called a material state. Whatever is cherished in mortal mind as the physical condition is imaged forth on the body” (p. 411).
In this case, I thought of the “body” as the “body” of government. Since God’s creation is always in balance, a deficit mode of thought is not of God’s making and needs to be corrected. We’re not stuck with it, any more than we’re stuck with disease.
Nor is it a hereditary condition. As children of God we inherit balanced and beneficial modes of thought. We are inseparable from our Father-Mother God. We reflect the power and presence of God to cast out any mode of thought that dishonors God’s goodness. The minute we start challenging a damaging deficit’s right to exist or the fear of “what ifs,” we’ve begun to heal it.
Forgiveness can play an important part in healing any disease, and the same is true of healing deficits. As part of elevating our thought above the old methods that created the deficit, we need to forgive our elected representatives, our fellow citizens, and ourselves. It’s legitimate to recognize that each of us is a child of God and is able to respond to divine Principle’s guidance. Under God’s direction, intelligent and innovative solutions can be found. A clearer recognition of God’s care for each individual can help lift off the feeling that reducing spending will deprive people of needed services and assistance.
I’ve found forgiveness to be important in healing my own deficit spending. Our family had accumulated a sizable credit-card debt, but we were able to stop adding to it after I began to pray before making each purchase. This enabled me to feel more of God’s grace leading me to fulfilling answers. We made consistent progress in paying off the debt, using the money I was making at a part-time job. But the job was coming to an end. As a result of prayer, I realized that I needed to forgive myself for incurring the debt.
I worked with this idea from the Lord’s Prayer, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12) and Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual interpretation “And Love is reflected in love” (Science and Health, p. 17). With continued prayer, I was feeling Love being reflected in loving provision for our family in many ways.
On the last day of my part-time job, my mom invited me to lunch. I was tired and almost said no, but felt an intuition that I should go. At lunch, I saw two co-workers from a previous job. (This was the first time I had seen them since leaving that job.) They told me that that very morning the company I used to work for had announced a change to the pension plan, making it possible for me to withdraw enough funds to fully pay off the debt.
This example is very small compared with the needs of nations facing huge debts and other financial challenges, but the spiritual concepts still apply. Bringing thought in line with God’s goodness results in healing.
As each of us lifts our thought to honor God’s goodness and the goodness of every part of His creation, deficits will begin to shrink in thought and acceptable paths for paying off debt will be realized.
A version of this article was originally published on JSH-Online.com.