When I open the newspaper each morning, it too often feels as if a whole host of problems cascades off the pages and onto my table. It can be easy to feel disheartened and helpless.
I am not a powerful, “connected” person, but even so, I’ve found hope and a way to help, through my study of the Bible and Christian Science.
The Bible provides many accounts of how people overcame conflict both within nations and when facing external enemies – similar to challenges we see in the world today. One is the account of David and Goliath.
Goliath was so dauntingly huge and mighty that he filled the hearts of opposing soldiers with fear. None of the Israelites would meet his challenge to them to fight with him one on one. But David, an unarmored shepherd, was not daunted. He’d had experiences of relying on God for protection from wild beasts and other dangers. This gave him confidence that God was an ever-present help no matter how big a challenge might appear to be.
From that standpoint, he said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight” (I Samuel 17:32, Revised Standard Version). And he went to meet Goliath, declaring, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (I Samuel 17:45, RSV).
With the sling he was accustomed to using as a shepherd, David launched one smooth stone. That simple stone was sufficient to bring down the giant who had threatened the armies and terrified the people.
For me, this shows that we don’t need to be terrified, even when conditions seem threatening. The same God who helped David and the people of Israel through many dangers is with us today. Referring to God as Love itself, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, puts it in this comforting way: “Divine Love is our hope, strength, and shield” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 113).
This isn’t an abstract concept to me. I have prayed with this idea many times and seen results. It speaks to the ability of justice, truth, love, and intelligence – qualities God bestows throughout creation – to prevail even in complex situations. God expresses His wisdom and strength in all of us, His spiritual offspring. If we trust divine Love’s intelligence, rather than our own opinions and agendas, to lead our prayers and actions, we can gain peace and stability that benefit others as well. As the Bible promises, “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation” (Isaiah 33:6).
For example, I know a woman who serves on the board of a small nonprofit organization. This group was trying to solve a difficulty that had legal and financial implications. Everyone wanted to meet the legal requirements, but doing so involved significant financial outlay that would be a great burden. They needed a better answer! The group felt very boxed in by the situation, and there was a feeling of frustration in the room.
This individual began silently praying for an insight that would enable the organization to obey the law, while also trusting that they could experience the kind of compassion and mercy that Christ Jesus showed to be included in God’s care for all. She reasoned from the basis that God is totally good, the divine Mind that governs intelligently. Her prayers affirmed that there was an answer and rejected the notion that a long-term burden was the inevitable outcome.
She felt a quiet sense of expectation from that spiritual reasoning. Then an unexpected solution that would satisfy both the legal requirements and the financial situation came to her. The woman proposed it to the other board members, who agreed to pursue it. The attorney confirmed that it was indeed a viable route to take.
This is a small example. But to me it illustrates God’s tender care for all of us, at all times and in varied situations, and it inspires my prayers for my community and the world.
We can strive to be receptive to divine guidance in our lives and trust in God’s ability to guide us toward constructive outcomes that forward understanding and peace.