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Trust calmly in the Lord

From The Christian Science Journal - June 26, 2013

In 1990, I felt that I was ready to make a progressive step in my career and needed to move on from the school where I had been teaching for a number of years. Although I had been short-listed for the senior executive position at this school, my application had finally been rejected. It seemed clear that my next career step lay elsewhere.

I resigned from my teaching position at the end of the school year and began scouring the newspapers and professional magazines for a replacement position, all the time trusting that every right idea brings with it whatever is necessary to support it. 

The new school year starts in February in Australia. Around the middle of January 1991, I had not yet secured a teaching position, and I began to be challenged by doubt. Our five older boys were ready to start school again, and the youngest was to start kindergarten. Interest rates were at an all-time high, and our mortgage payments had skyrocketed as a result. The expenses of caring for a large family had to be met. 

In times of stress, it’s comforting to remember this Bible passage: “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).

Doubts may assail us over major (or minor) decisions, but Mary Baker Eddy urges us to trust in God. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes, “Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious—as Life eternally is—can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not” (p. 495).

I resolved that my “calm trust” was not going to be overshadowed by doubt. I kept returning to the conviction behind my initial decision to move on in my career. There was no feeling of rancor in regard to an appointment which had not gone my way, but rather a clear conviction that this was an opportunity for professional growth in a new place. 

With two weeks to go before the school year started, I read of a position which would at least expand my teaching experience. I telephoned the principal of the school and discussed the position with him. I was most encouraged, and it seemed that we had instant rapport. 

In times of stress, it’s comforting to remember this Bible passage: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.”

I now look back on the seven years that followed my eventual appointment to that school as the most significant time in my career. The principal turned out to be an energetic leader and a most
expansive thinker, who saw more professional potential in me than I had seen in myself. After two years, he gave me executive responsibilities in pastoral care and curriculum management, along with my teaching responsibilities. I learned so much from this man, who was such an astute, caring, and wise leader. In hindsight, I think we shared a mutual respect for the essential goodness in everyone and everything. 

There were inevitable challenges and many highlights along the way, but a calm trust in God’s care was my rock. This steadfast faith in goodness was beautifully demonstrated by a parent of a teenage girl at this school. The student had been drawn into illicit drug use and consequent antisocial behavior. As part of my pastoral care responsibility, I was in touch with this girl’s mother on a regular basis. What impressed me over time was that the mother’s confidence in her daughter’s goodness never wavered despite the girl’s adverse behavior.

Eventually I asked this ever-patient mother, “What keeps your thought so positive and supportive?” With deep conviction, she responded that she had never lost sight of her daughter as she was when she was a beautiful little girl. In effect, that dear mother had allowed “neither fear nor doubt [to] overshadow [her] clear sense” of her daughter’s true nature. The wonderful thing was that eventually this teenage girl pulled through, vindicating her mother’s confidence in her innate goodness and dispelling all the false claims to the contrary.

Just as this mother’s love was untouched by the contradictions of the daughter’s true nature exhibited in the daughter’s behavior, so God’s love for each of His children is unconditional, constant, and ever pure. The contradictions of mortal thought, with its pictures of discord, are no part of God’s world, because “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

A few years after I moved on from that school, the former principal told me that before I had made the telephone contact with him in January 1991, he had been deeply disappointed because a teacher had resigned from the school on very short notice. That late resignation, however, opened up the opportunity for me, and he generously stated that my contribution over the ensuing years was much greater than he could ever have expected.

Russell Jenkin operates an educational consultancy business in Melbourne, Australia.

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