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October 2005

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      “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.”   (Christ Jesus, the Bible, John 14: 2, to 1st period).

     “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”    (Luke 12: 32).

     “Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God.”    (Mary Baker Eddy: Science & Health, with Key to the Scriptures, p. 254: 31).

     I love to write about 'place', whether it be one's work environment, place in a family, or the dwelling we call home. I love to write about these various places we occupy, because I'm so confident that our real place is in God's ever-present spiritual creation—and I know that a realization of this spiritual, forever place, leads us to the human, physical sense of place that fills our need, whenever it seems to be missing. Because our place in divine Spirit cannot be lost, damaged, interfered with, or taken away by some force, any material place can be re-placed in satisfactory form, because the divine will has made it so from the beginning. We are each heirs of God. God's entire spiritual creation is our land—our home.

     Our harmonious place in God, and in the divine creation, never leaves us, nor do we leave it. But this infinite place isn't a physical location; it's a spiritual state of being, which allows our human place to be anywhere we wish it to be, if it's right for us to be there. A king of a vast empire wouldn't make his children each remain in one, limited spot, or have one dwelling place all their lives; they'd be free to move around the kingdom at will. So in a very real way, their 'place' would be anywhere and everywhere they'd choose to be in their Father's kingdom. Just so, no patch of ground is our actual place; no structure we call home is our actual place in our Father's kingdom. Our true place is greater than the forms it takes, and it's never limited to one, or any number of, material forms. Our real place is infinite, within the kingdom, and can be manifested anywhere. No location in the kingdom is closed to us, if there's a good reason to be at that particular place.

     God is the creative Intelligence which has filled creation with all concepts and all identities, including yours and mine. And just as the moon and stars have their individual places in whatever spiritual harmony is expressed in the physical dimension, so do we. Yet, the celestial bodies aren't standing still in space either; they are moving and traveling, even as they maintain their individual missions and orbits. The harmony which allows all to be in its celestial place, while changing the material forms our place takes, has its source, not in the physical outer world of form, but in the spiritual dimension and realm that underlies all form. “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17: 28 to 1st ;) This 'Him' is Spirit—not a limited, physical environment.

     This brings us, of course, to all the displaced people who have suffered the material loss of homes and property due to the hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other extreme weather phenomena that have occurred through earth's history. (See “God Didn't Do It” article on this website for more on this subject.) As I'm writing this article, a second hurricane (Rita) has just struck on the border of Texas and Louisiana, bringing more water to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans future is indeed questionable, without some changes being made to better protect the city. Many, many people will never return to the physical homes and jobs they occupied there, even if the city is rebuild in the same location.

     From a material standpoint, this can be devastating for them. From a spiritual standpoint, it can be something far better. Why? Because they have not lost God, or their innate spiritual status as God's beloved children. Their divine Father/Mother, the Source of all good, if turned to and acknowledged, is still with them, able to bring each and every one of them to their new, and right-for-them home places and work places. The divine Wisdom and Intelligence can replace anything material. There aren't too many people for the divine Intelligence and Wisdom to handle. Each can be led to the exact places that will meet their needs—abundantly, not poorly. God has no poor children—but we have to remember that fact, and not assign divine abandonment to ourselves, or anyone else. In the parable of the prodigal son which Jesus told, the divine voice of God says to Its children who stay close, “...thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” (Luke 15:31). There's no poverty in that spiritual status.

     All over the USA and beyond, those who haven't suffered any losses are contributing time, money, material goods, temporary housing, counseling and moral support to the ones who've temporarily lost their physical dwellings and jobs. But along with that, so many are remembering to offer their prayers, too. And prayers can be powerful; we're told that the prayers of the righteous (I don't think this means self-righteous, but one who holds mentally to God's presence and power) can bring much good into the human experience. (See Bible, James 5: 16).

     As I mentioned at beginning of this article, I've a great confidence about the divine Intelligence leading us to all our right places, be they a dwelling place, job, school, or something else. My faith grows out of several experience with God's abundant care along those lines. One incident comes to mind in which all I had was faith, and nothing else to support my hope; but it sealed my trust in God's power to 'place' us, whenever we need it. Here's what happened:

     It was long ago, when I was in high school. At that time, most people couldn't afford to send their children to college. My situation was no exception. By the time I reached my junior year in high school, I longed to apply to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. I was a good student, and when I graduated high school, my grades could get me in; but poverty seemed to stand in my way. Also, except for meal jobs, or the like, the university didn't allow freshmen to work while trying to earn a degree. So, with no money, my desire to go to that college seemed like a doomed dream.

     Because I'd had moments of spiritual clarity during my life, however, I wasn't going to let myself feel poor. I absolutely knew that, as a child of God, poverty in the human condition is a false state of being, however much I might continue to experience it materially. I felt I had to heal my belief in poverty, for myself or anyone else. Also, I had to know: Was the U of I a right place for me? I asked God to let me know if it was all right for me to go to the U of I, or not. I also prayed to know how to get there, if it was okay for me to be there. I remember that this passage from the Bible came directly to my thought: “Trust in the Lord, with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5,6). (Yes, I'd long since memorized that one!)

     So, at the very beginning of my junior year, I took a mental stand to obey that directive. No matter what happened or didn't happen, I was going to simply trust the divine Presence and Will (not my own) to bring me to this right place, if it was Right for me in God's eyes. My real place, I realized, was in God's will and creation, not at any material location or school. My place was always in Spirit's purpose. If this was a wrong place, I'd be shown a better choice. But if it was good and right for me to go to the U of I, then I was already there in God's harmony. Only God knew my right place within the divine harmony, at any time.

     The next day, on my way to school, the very first step came to my thought: drop the art class I'd signed up for and replace it with a typing class. I did this upon immediate arrival at school, but I began to think this was pointing me toward a job, instead of college. I remember that my heart sank, a bit; but I followed this lead and spent that whole semester trying to become the best, and fastest, typist I could be. After the first typing semester, I felt led to take all four semesters of typing that were offered (both junior and senior years). I was peaceful with this decision. I didn't know where this was leading, but I knew one thing: God wanted me to type. Whenever doubts came, I commanded them to leave my consciousness. I trusted. I trusted during the first half of my senior year, with no other direction coming. Time was ticking away for applying to the university, but I figured that God could get me into the college during the last five minutes of the deadline, if need be.

     During the first week in my last semester of my senior year of high school, a man walked into the typing class. He said he was from the University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana. He said that the university's School of Commerce was opening a new program that would allow those qualified students, who couldn't afford college, to work in business offices on campus while pursuing their degrees. They had to have high academic grades, and be a superior typist. Their work schedules would be twenty hours a week, and their salaries would pay for their college expenses.

     It was a good thing that I always sat in the back of the class, because tears of joy started down my face. I knew I was in. This was God, opening the door, not only for my entry to the exact college I wanted, but for having qualified me, for two years, to fill the new program's demands—a program that had just come into being. I typed 90 words a minute, with accuracy. My grades were still at the top. There was no doubt in my mind, that this was it.

     And it was. For the next four years, my home was the U of I. I typed my way through all four years, earning $1.20 per hour, when most other campus jobs paid 35 to 50 cents per hour. (In the summer before college, I'd managed to save enough, also, to get me in the door, without borrowing.) While at the university, I worked four hours each morning, Monday through Fridays, and went to class in the afternoons. My class hours were slightly reduced, so it actually took a bit longer to finish college, but I didn't owe one cent to anyone when I was through.

     An experience like that is a great confidence builder in trusting God, concerning one's place, no matter how bleak the material scene is. It was the longest I ever had to trust, that I can remember. It's also an experience I remember so vividly, because so many of my needs and places were met—my education place, my dwelling place, my work place, my finances. I can honestly say I've never felt poor again, through the years, no matter what my human circumstances, which were sometimes (but temporarily) less than abundant.

     God is the great restorer of all things: spiritual, human and material. This loving Parent never leaves us; and we're always free to know this truth of our real circumstances, just as we're free to avoid God altogether, if we choose. Spiritual freedom allows us to choose. God forces Itself upon no one. Thus, we must turn and face God, open our consciousness to the inner voice from Spirit, or we won't hear the divine leadings when we need them. Without the divine guidance, we won't go and do our part of what is needed to harmonize our situation. Instead, material circumstances will still appear to have control over us.

     So, turning to God's love and divine presence, trusting that it's there caring for us, is always needed in order to turn the material circumstances around. They don't turn around by themselves. They often don't turn around, even when other people are continually helping us. But they do turn around when we turn to God's love and protection as real and present. It's always good to remember that, in the midst, and aftermath, of any of life's storms.

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