When it looked like we’d lose the company.
I was traveling with my family. Staying at a hotel. Trying to check out. We had to catch a flight to our next destination. The clock was ticking. As I was at the checkout desk, family members were still in their rooms, packing. Moreover, items that had been purchased wouldn’t fit in our luggage.
It was all very stressful and confusing. Should I call the airline and try to reschedule the flight? Should I give up trying to herd everyone out of the hotel and see if we could stay another day? I didn’t know what to do.
At that point, I woke up. It had all been a dream. I didn’t have to worry about making a flight or figuring out how to resolve other travel problems. The solution all along had been simple: Just wake up.
This reminded me of an experience I had some years ago, when the answer to a genuine dilemma, a business problem for which I initially saw no solution, came from a more profound awakening—a spiritual awakening to the truth of our real being, which I’m coming to understand more fully through Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, lays out in her writings that each individual’s true being is spiritual and eternal. And she refers to the view of creation that seems so familiar—the material account of creation in Genesis 2 in the Bible, in which man is vulnerable to sin, sickness, and lack—as the mortal dream from which we all need to, and eventually will, fully awake. “This awakening,” she explains, “is the forever coming of Christ, the advanced appearing of Truth, which casts out error and heals the sick” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 230). It is the nature of Christ to reach the human heart with God’s healing message, and the experience I’m about to relate illustrates that we are awakened by this divine message whenever and wherever it is welcomed.
I remember the turning point in this experience so clearly.
I own a company that sells music and movies online—CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and vinyl records. In 2010, after the Great Recession, we found ourselves in a difficult situation financially. Deep in debt and severely behind in our payments to our suppliers, I met with our accountant, who kindly informed me that there was no chance to save the company. He suggested that I shut it down, since he couldn’t see a solution.
Nevertheless, I felt reassured by Christ Jesus’ promise that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). This statement has always been a reminder to me that while finding a solution may seem impossible to us, it is always possible with God, so we can trust that even in the most difficult situations, God is with us—guiding us and illuminating the way for us. I prayed along these lines for a while and felt greatly inspired. I remember the turning point in this experience so clearly. I was sitting in my car in the underground parking lot of a local supermarket, talking on the phone to a supplier in Argentina—the supplier to whom we owed the most money. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant conversation, and they were suggesting a solution that would result in even deeper debt for my company.
I hung up with the supplier. It should have been a low moment, but instead, a startling thought came to me so clearly: This is not real. Indeed, it felt as though I were waking up from a dream. I had a sudden spiritual conviction that God did not create me, or anyone, to toil, suffer, and fail. He created every one of us to express His boundless nature—to succeed, grow, thrive, be joyful. God expresses in every one of us His infinite qualities, among which are wisdom and intelligence. These, and every other quality necessary to run a successful business, I had from God, as His reflection. The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, says, “Man is the expression of God’s being” (p. 470). Knowing this awakens us from stress, fear, and doubt and allows us to see our true, spiritual selfhood as complete—the unlimited idea of God’s creating.
My circumstances had not changed, but my perception of the situation had—in an instant. And I rejoiced. I saw that I could never be separated from God’s infinite goodness, or be the victim of lack of any kind—whether a lack of ideas, health, or resources. A passage in another of Mary Baker Eddy’s writings—“God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 307)—helped me see that I would have the answers I needed from God. And I knew this would result in tangible progress for my business.
I had a sudden spiritual conviction that God did not create me, or anyone, to toil, suffer, and fail.
Soon after, an idea came to me to try a completely different fulfillment model for our products. Success and phenomenal growth soon followed. The business completely turned around and has enjoyed several years of steady and exceptional success. All debts were paid in full, and we continue to do business with nearly all of the suppliers from that difficult period.
In situations that seem complicated, stressful, or overwhelming, the tendency is to do our best to fix them or scramble around to find a solution. However, the real solution comes not from frantic human effort (however well-meaning), but from allowing the Christ, God’s healing message, to wake us up to the reality of good that’s ours to experience. Every one of us has the spiritual resources to hear this message, find the answers we need, and experience healing—as I did.
By Jeffrey Scott Johnson
April 8, 2019 ISSUE Christian Science Sentinel
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