Do you ever feel that everybody else seems to be nicely settled but there’s no room anywhere for you? The reasons for homelessness may range widely, but at the heart of the challenge in each case is a feeling of being shut out from good.
Christ Jesus’ analogy of the shepherd and the sheep gives a picture of God’s loving care for all of His creation. One of the important things a shepherd does for his sheep is to provide a fold for them. It’s quite unthinkable that even one lamb should be shut out from the fold for a single night. And this is still a very reassuring thought in overcoming homelessness.
The Psalmist said: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. … 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.”1 The house of the Lord isn’t a place or a building. It’s a state of consciousness, a serene certainty of the ever-presence of God, divine Love. And we should be able to dwell in it, not just visit from time to time!
Anyone who has this spiritual sense of home takes it with him wherever he goes. And this helps to provide practical solutions to any housing problem. Two Christian Scientists proved this for themselves when they had to leave, at short notice, the house where they had lived for eighteen years, although they had been assured that they had the security of tenure there.
It was important for them to be near their business, and no suitable accommodation seemed to be available in the district. They started off by praying, but then they felt pressured by the owner of the house into rushing around to find a place. He didn’t think they were trying hard enough to find other housing. But when they really felt they had exhausted all the possibilities, and everything had just dried up so that their faith in divine Love’s provision was severely tested, they went back to praying more wholeheartedly.
Mrs. Eddy once described God to her students, as one of them recalls, along these lines: “Love is the Father, who is strong in His care for His children and provides for every need. Love feeds, clothes, and shelters every one of His dear ones. Love is a Mother tenderly brooding over all Her children. This Mother guards each one from harm, nourishes, holds close to Herself, and carefully leads along the upward way. Love is a Shepherd who goes forth into the darkness of the night, into the storm and wind, to find the lost sheep.”2
As the two Christian Scientists acknowledged that they were really fed, clothed, and sheltered by divine Love all the time without any break, experiencing only good and all good, the truths this passage brings out became clearer and clearer. Then only two days before they were supposed to leave the house, they were offered another one that met their requirements perfectly. And they gladly accepted.
Instead of thinking of themselves as pressured mortals competing with other pressured mortals to get a place for themselves in a crowded material universe, they had begun to see themselves as children of God, filling their individual niches in a God-ordered spiritual universe where there’s always room for everyone. Then they started to expect to be welcome, wanted, and needed.
Every proof of the effectiveness of this spiritual standpoint strengthens our confidence that human situations do respond to prayer and to trust in God. Even more important than finding a house to live in is changing the “shut out” feeling for the conviction that there’s always room for us too.
A religious article, treating a contemporary topic and showing how spiritual insight can help and heal, is published in each edition of The Christian Science Monitor.
2 Quoted in Irving C. Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1966), p. 90 . ↑