'Problems are simply opportunities in work clothes'

An eminent economist observed in a policy meeting of international business and government leaders, ''The world economy is balanced on a knife-edge, and could easily plunge into another era of economic disintegration - if we do not decide where we really want to go.'' But he then added, drawing upon his own lifetime of experience as professor, author, and counselor to presidents and captains of industry: ''Let us put our problems in perspective. They are manageable if we work at them. Problems are simply opportunities in work clothes.''

Nearly two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul confronted and mastered just about every problem ''the enemy'' could construct as he worked and persevered in founding the Christian Church. He worked and triumphed despite persecution, prison, beatings, and seeming failures. How was this possible? He knew - as we can know - that all things are possible to those who seek to do God's will. ''I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,'' n1 he proclaimed; and elsewhere in his writings he states that ''it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.'' n2

n1 Philippians 4:13.

n2 Philippines 2:13.

In Christian Science we learn that ''the enemy'' is not, in the most fundamental sense, an evil person or a problem too tough for us to solve. Rather , it's the false belief that evil can have power over good. Yet the only real power in heaven and earth is the power of God, good. Would our beloved Father-Mother God send us problems to afflict or test or punish us? On the contrary, our God is infinite good, knows only good, and gives us only of His goodness. And here on earth we are empowered by God to call upon the fullness of His strength in meeting and defeating every evil claim, every difficulty that masquerades as insurmountable reality.

''Meet every adverse circumstance as its master,'' n3 states Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She also urges the need for vigorous work in order to demonstrate God's allness and evil's nothingness. ''The song of Christian Science is, 'Work - work - work - watch and pray,' ''n4 she says. When we watch our thinking to be sure that it is divine Love, God, that is motivating us; when we pray for guidance from that divine Mind that was also in Christ Jesus, we can rest assured that our daily work need not be burdensome but rather inspired, directed, purposeful, refreshing, fulfilling, joyous, and effective.

n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 419.

n4 Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 2.

Yes, accurately perceived, problems are not fearful circumstances to be avoided but ''simply opportunities in work clothes.'' They are opportunities for growth in Christian character. They impel us to expand our experience, exercise our spiritual talents, develop our inner resources, strengthen our God-given abilities to be men and women of judgment, wisdom, love, distinction, accomplishment, courage, and honor. These Christly qualities are part of our divine heritage as sons and daughters of God - which we have every right to claim.

Think back on those outstanding characters in all of history whom you might call truly great. Moses, Paul, Elijah, are certainly among them. And there have been great, noble women - including Mary Baker Eddy - who pioneered and triumphed for a just cause. Would these individuals have reached greatness if they had not had to work and strive, to the very height of their spiritual capacities, in order to overcome problems of tremendous magnitude?

Each of us can work to overcome the unreal claims of material existence and prove the spiritual reality of life in God. Though we will continue to meet problems, with Christ we can go from glory unto glory rather than ''from one darn problem to the next.'' Without work, there is no reward. And like Paul before us, we can say, and prove, ''I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.'' DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, Neither forsake thee. Deuteronomy 31:8

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