Gratitude and progress

A Christian Science perspective: Being grateful can help us listen for the inspiration needed to bring progress.

How can we move beyond turmoil or feeling stymied? When we experience difficulty, we may not see a way to move forward. But I’ve found time and again that the door that opens to more joy, peace, and goodness for ourselves and others can be unlocked through a sense of gratitude.

In the midst of difficulties, we may wonder what we have to be grateful for. Some of us may be grateful for particular people or good situations. Or we may find ourselves grateful for human progress, such as the recent uncovering of the source of digital attacks on global banks.

But more than the good that seems readily apparent to us, there is something even deeper worth considering when it comes to gratitude: What God has done and is doing. Being grateful for the grace of the Almighty, divine Love, opens thought to the magnitude of God’s goodness and the inspired ideas that meet our needs.

The Bible points out: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). As Christian Science shows, this “good” creation is a perfect spiritual universe, characterized not by material limitation, but by endless beauty, intelligence, and harmony. And this is actually the universe in which we live.

This idea that the universe is good and that we can experience that goodness now, without limit, is a fact that Christ Jesus proved in his healing work and that Christian Science demonstrates today. The material senses may tell us that we are constantly on the edge, that at any moment the good we have can disappear, or that God’s love has somehow bypassed us. But God’s abundant spiritual creation is all around us and includes us. The more we realize this, and devote ourselves to expressing the patience, love, wisdom, and other divine qualities given to us by God, the more we experience the harmony and healing power of this truth.

In the words of Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science: “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 3).

I experienced this firsthand when I relocated my family to Europe. Within two years of my family’s arrival, the organizations where my wife and I worked both went out of business, leaving us jobless and our family without steady income. During that time I was grateful for the social benefits of the country we were living in, which were a help, but even more than that, I was grateful for what I was learning in my prayers about God. Through prayer, we begin to understand God and hear God’s graceful supply of spiritual ideas. Such ideas are available to everyone and come in the form of love, wisdom, and practical inspiration that leads us and others to answers and healing.

Every morning I would look to the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy for a deeper understanding of God’s practical love. Then, during the day, as I pursued opportunities for work or just fulfilled the demands of family life, I would strive to keep divine Truth and Love – God – in thought and express Him in generosity, patience, humility, and other God-derived qualities. I was confident this prayer would be manifested in whatever was needed for me and my family.

As a result of this thinking and acting, my wife and I found a stream of part-time and temporary work that was more than enough to meet our needs. It was clear to us that beginning with gratitude for God’s good and daily expressing this good more abundantly in our lives led to the answers we needed to provide for our family.

Today, I continue to be grateful for God’s boundless love that is ours for the asking. It’s clear to me that gratitude moves us toward healing by opening our thought to the goodness God already has for us.

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