Gifts from above

MOST of us have probably wrestled with the thought that if only we had a particular possession or were working at a certain job or were living in a different place, we'd finally be happy. Change is, of course, appropriate sometimes. And people should have their legitimate needs cared for. Too many struggle with the bare minimum, or less. But occasionally those who are living in better circumstances misinterpret what their legitimate needs are. Sometimes it's not so much an outward change that we need as much as it is a feeling of satisfaction within, a deep conviction that we are loved.

So often I've felt dissatisfaction dissolve when I've stopped thinking of myself as a deprived mortal, living in a realm apart from my creator, struggling to attain something beyond my reach, and have glimpsed in prayer something of the spiritual reality of my being in God's care.

It seems that we're vulnerable physical beings, subject to external conditions that we often have to manipulate. But is God's creation frustrated or lacking? Would a loving, intelligent creator subject His creation to chronic dissatisfaction? If we think so, we might look deeper.

Christ Jesus once said, ``Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.''1 God doesn't withhold good from man, because God is Love. And as the Bible also brings out, our true being is God's very expression, His image, a witness to His perfect nature. So dissatisfaction and lack are illegitimate, and because they're illegitimate we can gain at least a measure of dominion over them, even if things seem pretty bleak.

Sometimes, then, our deepest need is not to try to manipulate circumstances but to pray for a clearer view of God's omnipresent love and of our real selfhood, which is satisfied now. This isn't just theory or wishful thinking. To begin to glimpse that we're actually spiritual beings -- divine Spirit's offspring -- at this moment is to shed the frustrated sense that God is absent and good is beyond reach.

To feel in prayer the reality of God's embrace of our lives is to be willing to yield to His government and to give up the insistent thought that we must make something happen and that if we don't we'll be forever deprived. Yes, we do have to follow through and take appropriate steps. But it's important to see that we're really governed by God, not by circumstances or by personal will. What are we perceiving to be the source of good in our lives and how are we identifying ourselves? These are the crucial questions, because our answer to them relates to the satisfying outcome we seek. And it relates to the most enduring kind of progress, based squarely on worship of the one God. Our answer relates to our salvation itself.

The Bible says, ``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.''2 God does provide us with what we genuinely need. This is divine law, and we'll see tangible results as we open our thought, through prayer and Christlike humility, to the operation of this law. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``The `divine ear' is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied.''3

Sometimes answers seem far from clear-cut or easy. But as we begin to glimpse who we really are now -- the blessed offspring of God -- the mesmeric sense of deprivation will recede and the appropriate answer for our situation will become apparent.

1Luke 12:32. 2James 1:17. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 7.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee....The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Psalms 145:10,15,16

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