IT was a windy, cold day. I noticed a flock of birds trying to fly against the strong west wind. I'd never seen anything like it. They flew forward as much as possible in one direction, then turned and flew the other direction, only to turn against the wind again and fly towards their destination. As I watched, I saw they were actually advancing!
It made me think. I wondered if I was as persistent myself during trying times, when the winds of adversity and discouragement confronted me. Not always!
Mary Baker Eddy writes of her own experience in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, when she says: ``The discoverer of Christian Science finds the path less difficult when she has the high goal always before her thoughts, than when she counts her footsteps in endeavoring to reach it. When the destination is desirable, expectation speeds our progress. The struggle for Truth makes one strong instead of weak, resting instead of wearying one.''
While ``the struggle for Truth'' does make us stronger, it can still be very challenging. Our approach may resemble that of the flock I saw--forward a little, turn aside temporarily, forge ahead again with more spiritual determination and resolve, until we at last conquer the difficulties. Overcoming the fears and setbacks of life does require effort and persistence. But the more we learn to place our trust in God, to follow His guidance, the more sure and direct will be our spiritual progress. Spiritual
perseverance in the face of adversity may not always be easy, but the natural results of prayerfully placing our reliance on God, good, are spiritual advancement and human progress.
God created man in His own likeness. Thus man's perfect selfhood is spiritual--unimpeded by retrogression. Spiritually comprehending this helps us confront the winds of discord. Left alone, difficulties tend to continue and even accumulate. Prayer eliminates them from our experience.
When our daughter was quite young her nose seemed to be continuously runny. This didn't particularly seem to bother her, so while I took the normal caring actions of dressing her warmly and making sure she ate well and felt loved, for some reason I didn't specifically pray for her at first. Then one day I realized how long this had been going on! Right then, I picked her up in my arms and began to talk with her about God and how much He loves her. When the condition didn't immediately improve, I continue d to pray for her. For a while she would get better for a day or two and then the symptoms would start over. This occurred two or three times. I felt like the birds fighting to move forward against the harsh winds.
Finally I prayed to know that spiritual perseverance in my struggle for Truth to be made manifest couldn't possibly be opposed. I knew that God is all-powerful--the only power. Within a few days, my daughter was completely healed.
In the Bible, Matthew's Gospel records that Christ Jesus said, ``Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.'' Far from meaning that we should agree with wrongdoing, this text is teaching us that when the strong winds of adversity and discouragement confront us, we can deal with them right away, through spiritually persistent prayer. Our struggle for Truth is rewarded with Truth gained and a life renewed. And we find safe haven from the storm.