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Grace under pressure

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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It was overtime in the championship football game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. The winner would play in the Super Bowl.

Lawrence Tynes, the Giants kicker, had already missed two field goals. As he left the field, his coach "raged at him like a maniacal drill sergeant" (The Boston Globe, Jan. 25).

Minutes later, the coach had a key decision to make. Should his team try another field goal to win the game? Before the coach had a chance to make up his mind, Tynes surprised his teammates by bolting onto the field. With the windchill at 23 degrees below zero, Tynes knocked the ball through for a 47-yarder to win the game.

Asked about how he kept his focus in the middle of his coach's rantings, Tynes said, "I know he's yelling at me, I just never hear him."

Keeping calm when faced with pressure depends in large part on whom or what we decide to listen to. Even knowing that we always have a choice can be extremely helpful. Tynes's decision not to listen to his coach enabled him to focus instead on preparing for his next kick.

The Bible is filled with examples of those who were in situations where listening to the right voice made all the difference. When the Philistine army challenged Israel to a battle, sending their champion, Goliath, David offered to fight him. Goliath ridiculed David and tried to frighten him. But David's focus was on God. He answered, "You come to me with sword and spear and 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. This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand..." (I Sam. 17:45, 46, New Revised Standard Version). Then David ran toward the Philistine and defeated him with his slingshot.

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