It's a compelling biblical image – a young shepherd, with no protective armor or battle experience, sprinting toward a giant, fully-armed warrior (see I Sam. 17). The story of David and Goliath, with its small-guy-versus-big-guy theme and underdog heroism, offers inspiration to anyone feeling powerless or scared.
Being pitted against an overwhelming foe isn't a scenario most people welcome. While David's example may have continuing relevance for today's heroes – like those who resolutely resist government corruption, gang violence, school bullies, and social inequality – choosing to stand against an intimidating opponent might seem like more of a stretch for the rest of us. Actually, though, courage is available to each of us when circumstances seem beyond our control.
Real courage comes from God, who guarantees His goodness to be the only force and fabric of life, and who ensures that evil has no substance, influence, or power over us. Pondering these spiritual facts brings confidence that whatever the size of the challenge before us, we have resources – spiritual resources – to meet it. The Apostle Paul describes this mental dominion: "Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor. 10:3–5).
Our "Goliaths" may be circumstances like ill health, unemployment, broken relationships, dwindling resources, limits of all kinds. And like the Israelites' immense adversary, they may seem insurmountable. But no matter how menacing the situation, victory flows from the mental activity of "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" – of affirming the presence and power of God, who is good, and refuting the actuality of evil.
A micro-example of David's experience happened to me when I faced a dishonest salesman. The nearly new car we'd just purchased was making loud and unnatural noises within just a couple of days. When I took the car back, I overheard the sales manager tell our agent that the deal was done – he had no intention of righting this wrong.
My Goliath wasn't the manager. It was a sudden wave of anger that threatened to swallow all my intentions to be patient, civil, and expectant of justice. It seemed huge and unstoppable.
Right there in the salesroom, I faced the temptation to be intimidated or manipulated by a sense that evil was real and present. As I allied my thought with the all-goodness of God, I felt myself moving forward against, not submitting to, the overwhelming temptation to react. And it receded. In just a moment or two, the entire situation reversed itself. The car was taken in for repair, a loaner vehicle was made available, and both the evidence of dishonesty and the anger I felt dissolved – naturally and inevitably.
Each of us has the ability to perceive and accept God's omnipotent, totally good nature. With this knowledge, we never need to cower before evil, no matter how gigantic it appears. In fact, we're armed to face and destroy evil in any form. Prayerful thinkers who have relied on this truth have proved it repeatedly, reversing disease, injury, pain, grief, and loss. And these healings have further strengthened their spiritual resolve to face down everything unlike God.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy alerted readers of her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" that "every mortal at some period, here or hereafter, must grapple with and overcome the mortal belief in a power opposed to God" (p. 569). That's both a demand and a promise.
Like David, who proved that Goliath never had a chance against God's power, we can run to meet every challenge with the same trust – and expect equally decisive results.