On the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, my employees and I were in a hurry to submit a bid on a major contract before the close of business that day. In the process of rushing to finish in time, we overlooked one part of the bid. As a result we mistakenly submitted our proposal with a placeholder number of $10,000 for one line item of the work. The actual cost for that line item was $260,000. If that amount had been properly included in our proposal, the incorrect bid of $540,000 would have been $790,000.
When this substantial error was discovered, I was dismayed and immediately called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me and my business. She listened to the explanation of my company’s mistake with a sympathetic ear. Then she pointed me to something Mary Baker Eddy wrote, which spoke right to my situation: “How is a mistake to be rectified? By reversal or revision,—by seeing it in its proper light, and then turning it or turning from it.
“We undo the statements of error by reversing them” (Unity of Good, p. 20).
I began to “undo the statements of error”—the claims of a rushed job and inattention to detail leading to a mistake—by asserting the truth of the absolute control of God, of divine Mind’s infallible operation. God never allows for a mistake, for lack of discernment or disorder. Each of us reflects only God’s wisdom and order. Therefore, in divine reality a mistake could never have occurred. I turned away from an onerous sense of burden and failure, of self-condemnation and fears of possible business ruin, and clung to the ongoing, uninterrupted, perfect government of God.
Then I took the practical step of requesting to withdraw the mistaken bid. However, the contracting officer refused to release us. He said the next lowest bid from our $540,000 bid was well over $200,000 higher, and the funds had already been locked in at the lower amount. He seemed angry about the situation and dismissive of our concerns. In addition, he stated that if we withdrew our bid, he would require our company to forfeit our bid bond, which would cost us over $100,000.
As I kept praying, I began to see that I needed to examine my thinking about this situation. I saw within myself thoughts of indignation, perceptions of being singled out, bullied, and subjected to unfair treatment. I realized that I had gotten stuck in willfulness and self-justification.
I prayed to reverse these kinds of thoughts. Specifically, I prayed to reverse willfulness by understanding that there is only one will that matters, one will that’s real, and that is God’s will, not my own. And God’s will for everyone is good and harmonious. I reasoned that, as God’s beloved child, I am subject to divine power and God’s loving control, so I could happily surrender willfulness and self-justification by trusting in the power of divine Love to govern everyone and everything.
I asked the practitioner to keep praying, and we held to the spiritual fact that nothing in God’s creation can be outside of God’s control, the control of divine Mind. God, Mind, is always governing, every moment, regardless of what we might believe, and regardless of what we might experience that would seem to contradict this spiritual truth. We affirmed that all things were working together for good because we truly loved God, good (see Romans 8:28).
Since the contracting officer had refused to release us, I sent an appeal to the senior contracting officer. He said the appeal did not contain clear and convincing evidence of an actual mistake in the bid. Consequently, he also denied the request to withdraw, and he forwarded the appeal to his superior so that it could be reviewed by their legal department, which might lead to legal action being taken against my business.
I began to feel desperate and caged, with no way out. Even more concerning to me was that I had begun to feel hatred toward these individuals. Instead of feeling this hatred, I wanted to follow Christ Jesus’ instruction to love one’s enemies and bless them that curse us (see Matthew 5:44). I wanted to get rid of feelings of anger and fear. I wanted to understand spiritual causation, which could only be good.
Gradually I was able to release the feelings of anger and hatred, recognizing that these individuals were doing their jobs as best as they knew how and were conscientiously trying to protect their organization. They, too, were in reality children of God, spiritual and perfect.
I continued to listen for Mind’s guidance. The practitioner made clear that I should not outline the outcome in any way, but instead I should listen to God to perceive His direction and ever-constant care. I felt myself yielding more to God’s loving guidance and control. We prayed with Psalms 76:10: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” Any sense of animosity on anyone’s part had to yield to divine Love.
Then an unusual thought occurred to me: to call a company that had been my direct competitor. This was an unusual thought because I could imagine no way that such a phone call could help, but I followed the intuition and called.
During the course of this call I learned that my competitor had need of a unique capability that our company could fulfill, on a separate project. He was delighted to find a company to carry out this service. It turned out he had been wanting to work with our company, and he even agreed to carry out the scope of the disputed portion of the project I was struggling with at a greatly reduced cost—which would allow my company to complete the work without major loss. By teaming up with my competitor, I soon realized that my own business would have enough funds to cover our costs by going forward with the $540,000 bid.
When I phoned the senior contracting officer to inform him of this unusual turn of events, he was so happy he began laughing on the phone. It occurred to me that he had been feeling as boxed in as I had been. My business withdrew our appeal on the bid, and we were all grateful that a solution had come to light that blessed all concerned.
Over the course of the next year my competitor and I found many other business opportunities to work on together. We became close friends, and our two companies became teaming partners. We established a fundamental mutual trust that we could work together through any issues that might arise.
This experience led me to a renewed faith in God. It gave me confidence that His “business” is always operating harmoniously, and He is doing a fine job running it. Seen in its proper light, the apparent mistake became a heavenly nudge toward progress. Over many years, I have found that apparent business challenges are actually a call to go up higher in our acceptance of God’s government and to understand His great goodness for all of us.
Dallas, Texas, US
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