The gray, chilly landscape held no joy for me that morning. We had recently moved from a sunny part of the country to an area known for its clouds. At that time we had few friends in our new community. Our employment situation seemed unstable and our income, quite small. The home we had rented was cold, and our landlord a bit difficult. And it was the dead of winter. ``Why did we come here?'' I asked myself as I headed through dark hills to work. ``We came because we felt the change would be good for our family, and too because we felt guided by God to make this move,'' I answered.
Our motives had been pure. We had worked very hard. We had met some fine local people. Both my wife and I had found jobs. And we loved the beauty of this new land. Then, why all the gloom?
``Why all the gloom?'' I repeated aloud to myself as I looked back to the rolling hills. Suddenly I opened my eyes to a beauty in those winter hills I had been missing. Leafless trees splotched the hills in irregular triangles and rectangles. Tall, strong stands of conifers stood rich and green among the browns and grays of the leafless trees. The hills rolled in giant waves to the horizon. The gray of the day framed this winter scene.
``Praise God for His goodness,'' I thought as I took in the beauty there. I realized that the thought of ``praise God!'' had reversed my thinking--not only about the landscape but also about our family's new experience--in that very instant. That evening I turned to my Bible and found the exact words of the verse that had come to me. It is in Psalms and it says, ``Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!'' 1
From that day forward I didn't have a second thought about our new home. And there was no further gloom, even on the cloudiest of days. Many times, though, in the year following, I looked up into the hills--in springtime, summer, autumn, as well as winter--and thought, ``Praise God for His goodness!''
Praise, of course, is not something we do as a ploy to get more material things. The very idea of ``praise God!'' recognizes the presence and activity of God right at this time and in this place. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says, ``God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love.'' 2
The unchanging Love that is God has already crowned His creation, including man, with unimprovable perfection. All that needs to be there is there now. Nothing can be changed for the better, because of the spiritual perfection God has created.
The need, of course, is increasingly to discern this absolute truth, which limited, human perception and reasoning deny. The need is to help bring to light more of the divine reality that God has established. Clearly, there is room for us to improve, and through regular prayer --and regular praise--we can understand more of God's spiritual creation and how it is appearing in our experience now. When we learn to praise the positive developments in our lives as evidence of God's presence, then more and more of the truth of God will appear. This isn't merely positive thinking, nor is it an ignoring of evil. It's a mental stance based on an understanding of God's supremacy and of the reality of what He has created. Referring to the need for us to wait on God, Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Thus abiding in Truth, the warmth and sunlight of prayer and praise and understanding will ripen the fruits of Spirit, and goodness will have its springtide of freedom and greatness.'' 3
We can experience this ``springtide'' in all our days, regardless of the season or the weather or even our personal circumstances. Praise to God for the perfection of His creation can wedge open the door through which flows a stream of blessing and fruition. 1 Psalms 107:31. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 2. 3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 331.