When a person is healthy, prosperous, and relatively happy with life, giving thanks to God for His blessings may seem natural. But what if we are plagued by ill health, lack, or great personal tragedy? What then is our basis for thanksgiving?
Giving or not giving thanks to God doesn't have to be merely a human response to good or bad circumstances. Thanksgiving can take on a higher meaning to us - one that is not dependent on externals. We can discover a mode of thanksgiving that actually changes our lives for the better.
This higher sense of thanksgiving is based on a spiritual vision of life. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, contented or despairing, we need this transforming vision. We need the assurance, based on provable fact, that there is far more to life than the phenomena of matter. What redeems is a sense that man's life is actually spiritual, therefore eternal and limitless in possibilities.
Christian Science entreats mankind to see itself in a new light, in the freeing light of Christ. As its Discoverer and Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, says: ''Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!' Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right. The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, crippled your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being.'' n1
n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 227.
If this call to freedom speaks to our world-weary heart, an unshakable basis for never-ending gratitude is appearing. It doesn't matter how sick we are, how poor we are, how caught up in sin and sensuality we are. If something within us cries out ''Yes!'' to the spiritual idea of man as God's own beloved, our freedom can be won. God Himself is with us in a way we may never have sensed before.
In the words of the Apostle Paul, ''As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.'' n2
n2 Romans 8:14, 15.
By accepting the spiritual idea of sonship, which is the eternal Christ present in every human consciousness, we receive the ''Spirit of adoption.'' We begin to feel the joy of knowing that we are in fact God's offspring. What a glorious day it is when we rebel against the limitations of matter and cry: ''Abba, Father! Spirit, God, show me what life really is!''
This heart's desire is answered by the Father. Spirit may now seem ''the substance of things hoped for,'' but healing and regeneration soon become ''the evidence of things not seen'' n3 for those who seek to know those unseen things. Here is where the spiritual sense of thanksgiving comes in. The highest thanksgiving is prayer and living that acknowledge the presentm reality of that which the material senses cannot see.
n3 See Hebrews 11:1.
This gratitude gives thanks, right in the face of disease, for the fact that Life is God, and that God made man spiritually whole and perfect. It praises God , right in the midst of need, for the unlimited wealth He bestows on man. It rejoices, right in the face of sin uncovered, in the purity of man. Isn't this what Christ Jesus did? And look at the results. He healed disease, fed multitudes, redeemed the sinner, even raised the dead.
Such spiritual thanksgiving is a redemptive power. It is a law of obliteration to whatever would hide the real status of man. It heals. It saves. It transforms our bodies and lives. And we can learn to give thanks in the healing way of the Master.
Do we have something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving? Yes, more than we can possibly imagine. God has made man in His spiritual image - unlimited in thought, activity, and in the ability to do good and to progress. And through the apprehension of this spiritual idea of man, we individualize the power of God to lift ourselves above every adverse situation. Gratitude is the way. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ II Corinthians 2:14