DO challenges impel you to perform better, or do they deflate you and leave you feeling unsure of yourself? Perhaps the type of challenge determines our response. The ``easy'' ones -- a jigsaw puzzle or a new recipe -- seem to be challenges of choice. So we may think there's no pressure on us to meet them, and we can enjoy them as new opportunities without feeling threatened by dire consequences. But the ``hard'' ones -- ill health, the loss of a job or home, a school examination that may influence our future -- these seem unavoidable, and demand a stretching of our capacities. When things happen that impose limitations on us, we respond differently.
Yet even these difficulties can be met with grace as we discover the practicality of knowing our genuine, spiritual nature as the child of God. Our true identity is untouched by evil; and this reality, distant as it may seem to us at the moment, can be proved through specific instances of healing. Solutions to our troubles are never out of the range of God's powerful and incisive wisdom, because He is our Father, our constant protector and guide. He cares for His creation.
Praying from the basis that God is the one true Mind, and that we, as His offspring, naturally express His infinite wisdom, can reveal resources of intelligence and courage previously hidden from view. Through prayer we can exchange the morbid, depressing, material view of man as a sinning, lacking mortal, separated from good, for an understanding of his true nature, inseparable from God and from His law of harmony. Challenges can be seen as opportunities to demonstrate our potential for good.
Think of the pole-vaulter. He sees the raising of the crossbar not as a punishment but as a measure of how far he has already come. Without that bar being raised, there's no opportunity to reach new heights!
God doesn't give us trials, but we can feel His tender love more noticeably as we turn to Him for answers in difficult times. In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy1 writes, ``Trials are proofs of God's care.''2 For those who have proved the truth of this statement, His presence becomes increasingly tangible and practical in daily experience.
If we feel inadequate to meet a challenge of ill health, we might remember Christ Jesus' words ``The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.''3 We can turn to God, divine Love, for a spiritually accurate assessment of our health. We'll find in this view of man's God-given perfection the spiritual authority that heals.
Troubles do yield to a realization of God's all-powerful authority. So we can confidently discard discouragement and impatience in favor of expectancy, and even joy, as we confront disease or fear or any hardship with growing trust in God's ability to reveal our true condition -- spiritual wholeness.
After a long period of invalidism due to a physical condition that several doctors had been unable to diagnose or treat successfully, I came across this statement by Mrs. Eddy: ``Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.''4 As I pondered this revolutionary idea, I began to get a glimmer that I could rise from my sickbed and my sickly state of thought. And as I began to understand that it was God, not muscles or bones or even a humanly mental effort which made me capable of rising, I did rise from that diseased condition permanently. Even the labels of ``chronic'' and ``incurable'' couldn't resist His power and goodness.
Since that time I've experienced and witnessed healings of many kinds of challenges to my own and others' well-being. But instead of fearing or resenting challenges, I've come to look upon them as opportunities to prove what divine Science reveals about God and His creation. Like the pole-vaulter, I'm learning to welcome the hurdle, which can only elevate me out of limitation in increasing degree.
The Bible has many reminders of God's love for His children. Each of us can respond to this love by agreeing to take a new look at challenges and to demonstrate, step by step, the truth of Jesus' words ``With God all things are possible''!5
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 66. 3John 14:10. 4Science and Health, p. 393. 5Mark 10:27. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ. II Corinthians 2:14