Among the many brilliantly decorated, clever floats in the 1983 Tournament of Roses Parade was one that brought forth especially enthusiastic applause. In keeping with the parade theme of ''Rejoice,'' this float, called ''Rejoice Anyway,'' featured a mother goose with several little goslings hatching from their shells. But one shell opened to reveal, not a gosling but . . . an alligator!
This scene, comical as it was, prompted me to consider some rather serious questions. How many times, I wondered, had some alligator slithered its way into my life instead of the gosling I had anticipated? When I had suffered disappointments or losses that at the time seemed unbearable, did I remember to rejoice anyway? How could I better prepare myself for future moments when events might not work out as I hoped?
In praying about this, I realized that regardless of what challenges I might have to face, there would be a way to meet them when I turned wholeheartedly to God. The Bible tells us that God is Love and is constantly caring for His creation. There cannot be a circumstance in which His tender love and unfailing direction are unavailable. Remembering this, we are able to surmount the most crushing defeats. In fact, the painful experience can turn out to be the greatest blessing when we are truly willing to trust God. Mary Baker Eddy n1 writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.''n2
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health, p. 574.
When we steadfastly insist on our sonship with God, recognizing that He cherishes each of His sons and daughters, we can rejoice, in spite of adverse circumstances. Every phase of misfortune stems from the belief that there are two powers - good and evil. But the healing, saving message of the Bible, illustrated so richly in the life of Christ Jesus, is that there is one power only - God, almighty good. Turning to God for the healing of sin and sickness, we come to recognize His supremacy. And as we're faithful to that perception, the error that had seemed so potent is proved to be error - a mistaken belief that there is more than one governing force. This belief, manifested as sickness , lack, loneliness, or whatever, is no more plausible to spiritually enlightened thought than an alligator emerging from a goose's egg!
Mrs. Eddy responds to the following question in her book Miscellaneous Writings: ''If all that is mortal is a dream or error, is not our capacity for formulating a dream, real; is it not God-made; and if God-made, can it be wrong, sinful, or an error?'' Part of her answer reads: ''That God is Truth, the Scriptures aver; that Truth never created error, or such a capacity, is self-evident; that God made all that was made, is again Scriptural; therefore your answer is, that error is an illusion of mortals; that God is not its author , and it cannot be real.'' n3
n3 Mis., pp. 49-50
These truths are surely sufficient cause to rejoice, because they assure us that healing is possible, and inevitable, on the basis of God's allness. The Master taught and practiced spiritual healing through his perfect understanding of the allness of God, good, and the consequent nothingness of evil. Each time he healed someone he was verifying this truth. Matthew records, ''Great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them.''n4
n4 Matthew 15:30.
His liHis lifework proved that we can rejoice, even in the face of grievous problems, for these can be healed through faith coupled with spiritual understanding. Before his crucifixion Jesus told his disciples, ''Verily, verily , I say unto you . . . ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.''n5 How gloriously this prophecy was fulfilled in his resurrection and ascension!
n5 John 16:20.
Regardless of what difficulties may darken your path, claim the reality of good alone, and rejoice anyway. More than just positive thinking, this spiritually enlightened standpoint is effective prayer - prayer that brings healing. DAILY BINLE VERSE O God thou art my God. . . . Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. Psalms 63:1, 7