The other day I got a surprise package in the mail from a friend. I was so excited that I set my purse and brief case down right there in the middle of the sidewalk and opened it to find a wonderful note and a music CD.
Packages. They bring out the child in us. There's something so special about unknown treasures, the "how did you know I needed this?" delight they bring, and even the unexplainable relief when a carefully ordered item arrives safely and can be put to use. In some ways, it's not so much what's in the package that matters, but what it expresses of love, utility, beauty, spontaneity, and goodness in our lives.
In fact, the best packages I've ever received are not wrapped in paper and cardboard. They're the gifts of God's goodness, the sheer blessings of God's infinite attributes that I'm learning are expressed to everyone as God's children every day in infinite measure. Why? Because it's the nature of God as infinite Love to constantly bless His ideas, or children, to hold them as the expressions of wisdom, harmony, peace, strength, dominion, and perfection.
The Bible assures us of this nature of God: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, expressed it similarly: "It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 494).
But, what if you're not seeing any of God's gifts of goodness in your life? What if times seem dark and difficult? I'm finding that at moments like this it helps to go into the day with the same childlike expectancy of good that we feel when we receive a package in the mail. From the moment we waken, we can anticipate that God's love will be embracing us and seen through countless expressions of good throughout the day. It may come through a loving word from a family member. It may come through a correction from an employer. It may come as a smile from someone we pass on the street. Or a fresh idea to express ourselves creatively. It may come as a quiet peace in the middle of a traffic jam. But as we begin to watch for these unfolding evidences of God's loving presence, we'll see them everywhere.
For instance, the day before Thanksgiving I awakened not feeling well. I had a full day scheduled at the office, 14 people coming for dinner the next day, and other family obligations that evening. I felt like crawling back into bed and canceling all my appointments. I certainly wasn't feeling any childlike expectation of goodness that day. But having learned of the power of God's love to lift me out of pain and pressure, I sat up in my chair and looked for God's gifts of inspiration in my morning Bible Lesson study. Very quickly I began to feel the peace of God. I felt the assurance that God's goodness was all around me and would be expressed throughout my day if I'd just keep watching for it. By the time I was done studying, I felt much better physically, too, and so I got up and got going.
As I was walking out the door, my husband asked for some ideas on a project that he was feeling stumped about, and right away I was able to share some ideas that broke the logjam for him. While at the office I was able to accomplish my work so efficiently that by lunch I could go to the grocery store for some last minute feast-preparations, and even had time to joke with the checkout clerk about pie recipes. I thought, as I drove to pick up our daughter from school, how many of God's qualities I had seen already that day, the healing evidences of His presence. The illness had melted away.
Inspiration, intelligence, clarity, productivity, companionship, focus, spontaneity, grace, humor, restfulness, enjoyment, love, compassion, assurance, peace, gratitude, and healing - God's gifts - are everywhere. Even what we may have thought of as a not-so-good day or a downright rotten one can be re-seen from the perspective of God's gifts. It's never too late to unwrap them. They are the best gifts you can get, and they're all around you right now. And, it's all right if you can't wait to unwrap them - that's the nature of packages, especially spiritual ones.