In this age of instant global news, it’s easy to become intimately knowledgeable about pending disasters, sometimes several in a given day. Whether they involve environmental perils or violence due to human brinkmanship or callous self-interests, the global community realizes that creative solutions must be found.
Disasters of national or global proportions are not new. The only difference is the rapidity of the information flowing around the globe. Yet, the same history books that remind us of wars and famines are also filled with stirring accounts of how individuals were inspired with bold thinking, at just the right moment, to pursue ways that averted or reversed impending disaster.
One of those history books is the Bible. It is filled with accounts of dire circumstances met with bold thinking and action that resulted when people humbly turned to God, divine Mind, for the unconventional wisdom needed to bring relief from an oppressive circumstance.
The well-known account of David and Goliath tells of a national disaster effectively averted. The Philistines demanded that the Hebrews select one man from among their ranks to engage in one-on-one combat with the Philistine champion, Goliath, a man of immensity and skill in combat. The Philistines’ demand also included the provision that all of the people represented by the loser of the battle would become the slaves of the victor’s people. The Hebrews were threatened with the enslavement of their entire nation.
The obvious answer for the Hebrews would have been to look to their trained corps of soldiers with their armor and weaponry. The inspired answer, however, came in the form of a boy who could not even bear the weight of the armor offered him, who didn’t know how to use the conventional weapons of war, refusing both.
David did have two particular strengths. Life as a solitary shepherd had evidently developed in him the stillness to commune with God. One can hear him turning his heart to God in the early morning hours when the dew still lay undisturbed on the grass in one of the songs attributed to him: “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee” (Ps. 143:8). In this young man we witness someone who is not so impressed with his own knowledge but rather one who has demonstrated an ability to listen for God’s direction in every circumstance, knowing it will come.
Second, David was adept at the use of a slingshot, which shepherds used to protect their sheep from stalking predators. A slingshot might be considered a simple weapon; but it is the weapon David had experience with, and he effectively used it in the standoff with Goliath.
None of us knows when the skills we have polished in the day-to-day routine become exactly what is needed in a given moment. David hadn’t gone to the camp so he could save the day. He was a shepherd who simply, but magnificently, used the skills he had honed through daily practice.
How important it is for each of us to value the qualities and skills we have polished in our daily endeavors, without comparing them to the accomplishments of anyone else. Many times in history a humble idea has paved the way for substantial movement of thought and action in a difficult situation.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor when women couldn’t even vote, found turning to God for direction, and then being obedient, the way to accomplish what the world would have considered impossible. She wrote of what she discovered as the source for progress on all fronts, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 258).
Our contribution to the world scene may not be as the one with the saving idea. Most often it is our job to resolutely uphold in prayer the idea that there is an answer, and that it will not be hidden but rather lifted up for all to recognize. Either way, we each have an important contribution to make. It really is humility of the right sort to recognize and value the role each one plays in bringing healing solutions to the events of our day.
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