Welcome the challenge

David did. Eagerly he took on the challenge of defeating Goliath and even ran to meet the defiant Philistine. He didn't recoil before his opponent, as did the rest of Israel. Goliath's formidable size and military prowess didn't deter David from his task, because he trusted God.

The young shepherd was confident of victory. He told Goliath, ''The battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands'' n1 - and so it was. What proof of the supremacy of good resulted from David's willingness to accept the challenge and meet it with the power of God!

n1 I Samuel 17:47.

How do we respond to the challenges that come our way - to sickness, injustice, crime, or even the small annoyances of daily life? Do we resent them? Fear we might not be able to conquer them and that they'll conquer us instead? Probably few of us could admit to always sharing David's enthusiasm for a confrontation, but we can all benefit from his example. As we too learn to have complete trust in the saving strength of our creator, and are confident of the triumph of good over evil, we will find ourselves welcoming the challenge to demonstrate that trust.

How we regard challenges has a lot to do with our concept of God. Do problems come from God? No, but the ability to surmount them does. The Bible teaches that God is ever-present Love, omnipotent good. He is All-in-all, and man is His flawless spiritual likeness. The power of divine Love is invincible; and when this power is understood and applied, the opposing claims of evil are felled.

As we realize these spiritual facts, it becomes natural for us to trust ourselves completely to His care, to turn to Him for every need, including physical healing. There's no reason for us to retreat from a problem when we're armed with a deep conviction of the presence and power of God. The defiant assertions of evil, or materiality, are proved impotent when faced with divine Truth, and therein lies the sure basis for our confidence in meeting any challenge.

The test of an athlete is in the game, of a musician in the performance. And the test of a Christian is in the challenge. The trials of human experience enable us to prove by our works what we profess by our words. They offer us a way to put into practice what we know of God. Facing and overcoming the challenges inherent in a material sense of existence, rather than sidestepping them, proves that we know what it means to follow the healing example of the Master, Christ Jesus. We need these proofs. Without them, we'd be Christians in name only, like a violinist who never played his instrument.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Christianity is the summons of divine Love for man to be Christlike - to emulate the words and the works of our great Master. To attain to these works, men must know somewhat of the divine Principle of Jesus' life-work, and must prove their knowledge by doing as he bade: 'Go, and do thou likewise.' '' n2

n2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellanym pp. 148-149.

The summons to be Christlike requires persistent striving to defeat ungodlike thought and action. This effort is always beneficial, though it may not be easy. It impels the regeneration of character that's often unsought when everything is going smoothly. It rouses us from complacency with dishonesty, hatred, sensuality, pride. Spiritual strength is developed, and we learn greater humility, patience, love.

We all have to combat the enemy of materiality in our own thought, and challenges compel us to do just that. They demand spiritual growth. The writer of James must have known this. He said, ''My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.'' n3 J. B. Phillips renders this passage, ''When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!''

n3 James 1:2

As friends? Certainly! There are blessings awaiting us in every difficulty - spiritual lessons to be learned, healing to be experienced, the power of God to be proved.

Are you facing a challenge? You can welcome it with God-inspired confidence and meet it with Truth. Your victory is certain, because ''the battle is the Lord's.'' DAILY BIBLE VERSE Seek the Lord and his strength. I Chronicles 16:11

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