Describing a character in his spy novel, author Alan Furst wrote that he “had the presence of a man swimming always upstream, who, accepting that as his natural element, had early in life become a strong swimmer” (“The Foreign Correspondent"). That character description suggests a powerful mental stance. Life does include challenges. But how we meet them makes the difference.
As a reader of the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s companion book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” I’ve found that knowing our relationship to God as His sons and daughters enables us to express resilience, strength, and calm, no matter what comes our way.
An example from the Bible comes to mind. David, when just a youth, defeated a heavily armored giant of a soldier. David knew and trusted God. He’d seen God’s always-present help, and that enabled him to go forward, without armor, to battle the giant. Despite the giant’s disdain at David’s small size and youth, David ran forward and shouted, “I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts,... the Lord will deliver thee into mine hand” (I Sam. 17:45, 46). And that’s what happened. Goliath, the enemy, was destroyed.
We’re not on our own as it seems we are. Instead, as God’s loved children, we’re always with Him. And we are assured of His help. The Bible says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:10). In that promise is our ability to deal with any challenge that comes our way.
There’s no indication in David’s story that God was responsible for sending Goliath and the rest of the Philistine army to trouble the Israelites. Through David, however, He provided a solution to their difficulty.
God gives only good. He is a blessing God. Reasoning out from that fact, we’re assured that what seems evil and threatening around us cannot be from our good God. And so we can challenge the trouble. We can mentally run to meet it, and, with God’s help, defeat it. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health, “Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil” (p. 571).
My family had a victory experience that confirmed God’s upholding love. During a major storm, our home was flooded. Ultimately there was about four feet of water inside. I was frightened and at times almost incapacitated. We really didn’t know what to do. But we were praying, trusting God’s love to care for us, right at the moment of our need.
And then unexpectedly, help came. A neighbor who’d had experience with floods took us to rent a large truck. The county rescue squad came unannounced and loaded our belongings into that truck. A friend offered us a place in her home until the water receded and the house dried out enough for us to move back in. And at a point early on, we did feel the calming assurance that God was right there with us.
This was an important spiritual muscle-building experience for our family, a support in meeting later challenges. We found that whenever there was a giant battle in our life, we could meet it by trusting that Bible promise from God, “Fear not, for I am with thee.”
God’s saving help is here for all of us, no matter what the challenge.