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'A table in the wilderness'

From The Christian Science Journal - July 11, 2012

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As a young divorced mother, I was often searching for a place for my daughter and me to live. My parents’ home had been sold to the county under eminent domain for improvements to the local airport. My dear mother had recently passed on, and her condominium association—under a law existing at the time—would not allow small children to live in the community. Housing prices had risen dramatically in our large metropolitan city, putting home ownership out of my reach. So my daughter and I moved many times during her early years.

At one point, after I was accepted at a graduate school to become a professional librarian, we had to transfer yet again to a smaller apartment in another part of the city in order to economize and live closer to school. I had quit work, cut costs, stored furniture, and moved into this little apartment. There was just enough money to pay the rent, tuition, food, and transportation costs. But we had no dining table.

From a lifelong love of Christian Science, I knew that a table is more than a piece of furniture. 

From a lifelong love of Christian Science, I knew that a table is more than a piece of furniture. It represents qualities of grace, support, provision, warmth, beauty, accommodation, and welcome. I thought about how we cannot be separated from these qualities, because they are ours from our Father-Mother God. 

During this time I had the love and support of my Christian Science teacher, who reminded me of God’s goodness whenever I called. She assured me that our loving Father, divine Mind, had not forgotten us.

Nevertheless, I was content to use a card table. What did it matter? I could put a pretty tablecloth on it and cover it up. But my daughter, who was six at that time, felt we needed a “real” table. One day after school I saw a sign in the window of a furniture store in a lovely nearby community and felt impelled to go in. A table advertised as “apartment-sized” was on sale. I had just enough money to cover the price. When it was delivered, it filled our dinette with its beauty. It said to us, “Welcome to your comfortable home!”

We cannot be separated from good qualities, because they are ours from our Father-Mother God. 

After a few days, however, I began to wonder if I had made a mistake. Wasn’t I being too extravagant? This was not the time for such an indulgence. I felt I needed to call the store and have them pick up the table. First, though, I picked up a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. As I turned randomly to page 135, my eyes fell on a quote from Psalms: “ ‘Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?’ What cannot God do?”

So we kept the table as a sign of God’s ability to supply abundantly. And indeed He has. After graduate school, I found a good job and eventually married. We were never again in such tough economic straits. We have our own home, and the table God provided in our wilderness is now a kitchen table. My now-grown daughter and her husband have a home of their own as well. 

Mrs. Eddy lovingly says, “When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone,—but more grace, obedience, and love” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 127). God’s tender provision is provable.

Georgene Litten Smith lives with her family in Pasadena, California. 

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