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The strength that comes from gratitude

- Practice, Practice, Practice

When I was in college, our swim team was preparing to compete with another school. Our coach wanted to test my time for the 100-yard freestyle event. He asked me to swim the event three times in a row with a one-minute rest in between each swim.

While swimming the first 100 yards, I recalled, with gratitude, the complete healing of “swimmer’s ear” a couple of years earlier. The ailment was a very painful condition in my ear that would have prohibited me from future swimming, competitive or casual.

After the first 100 yards, the coach told me the swim time. I waited one minute and did it again, still rejoicing and thinking about this healing. When I finished that 100 yards the coach was amazed because my time was a second or two faster. He was even more amazed after my third and final swim because my time was faster still! A few days later our school competed in a Big Ten college swim meet, and I was able to be part of that competition.

This experience has always stood out to me as an example of the inspiration that comes from gratitude—from being grateful for God and His healing power. It was gratitude for God that opened my eyes to the fact that because God governed me, my strength came from Him. This God-derived strength is not just theoretical, but very real and practical. The understanding of God’s government brings freedom to the body, giving one greater spiritual conviction as well as physical energy and strength. Under the marginal heading “Renewed selfhood,” Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy. Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be’ ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 249).

We can be grateful for and draw strength from past healings and experiences that proved to us God’s love and spiritual power. I know some students of Christian Science who keep a list of healing experiences that bring repeated encouragement and rejoicing.

This rejoicing is gratitude. Gratitude for the physical, mental, and moral healings that have taken place. Gratitude for a greater sense of God’s love, power, and presence. Gratitude for new views of man as God’s perfect reflection instead of an imperfect, flawed mortal without hope of salvation. 

This gratitude brings vitality, energy, and strength because it includes spiritual understanding, a recognition of the power and presence of God’s goodness and man’s spiritual perfection. Thank goodness for gratitude!

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