Attainable Goals

AS a young sailor in the Second World War, I was impressed by a story told about an army general. He had taken command of a dispirited army. Surveying the situation, he concluded that the soldiers needed victories. He then planned small, successful operations. The soldiers' confidence grew. When the final battle came, they won a decisive victory. All of us, in our individual lives, may find ourselves at times facing a problem that at first seems overwhelming. By working on goals that are attainable, however, we can progress toward larger victories. That's what David did in overcoming Goliath. Faced with the might of his huge opponent, David recalled how he had trusted God when first a lion and then a bear attacked the sheep he was watching. With divine help he had conquered both. These smaller experiences of God's saving power had strengthened his trust in God. Confronted by the larger challenge, he was able to say, ``The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.''1

Some years ago, I was seriously ill and unable to do anything very much. Outside my window flowers were growing. I thought of Jesus' words ``Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.''2 But even the task of considering flowers seemed beyond me. Nevertheless, I found I was able to consider one flower. So I appreciated one flower as a reminder of God's love. My appreciation for that one flower was like the breaking up of a logjam. As a result, I discovered a capacity to see more of God's goodness in the world around me. My outlook expanded, and I glimpsed something of the perfect spiritual reality of God and man. My health improved. I was soon well.

By winning the first small battle I moved toward the victory over the illness that at one time had overwhelmed me.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God.''3

Spiritual healing does not demand of us vast quantities of spirituality. But we must make the effort to live spiritually, even if only in small ways, and trust God to show us each step to take. The restorative power is God's. God gives the victory. God heals.

Christ Jesus walked on the sea, healed multitudes, raised the dead to life because he understood that with God all things are possible. But if you and I, as yet, are not understanding God as well as the great Master, nor demonstrating divine Love so effectively, there is no need for us to be discouraged. We can work toward goals that are within our present capabilities. We can aim for ``a little more grace,'' and attain it. We can love more. We can be more at peace.

``Acquaint now thyself with him,'' the Bible tells us, ``and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.''4

The final goal for each of us is full understanding of a perfect God who has created a perfect man. But this understanding is not reached in a moment. We attain it step by step, not by counting our steps but by ensuring that each step is taken wisely. By demonstrating God's healing love through measurable, attainable goals, we prove God's law, progress spiritually, and gain for ourselves decisive victories.

1I Samuel 17:37. 2Matthew 6:28. 3Miscellaneous Writings, p. 354. 4Job 22:21.

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