When asked to count our blessings, the things we probably think of first are those physical blessings that not everyone has, like food, family, health, houses, jobs, etc. Seeing other people in the world who don’t have those things reminds us not to take them for granted. But what about those physical blessings that everyone does have? How many times have you heard something like this over the Thanksgiving dinner table?
“I’m thankful for the molecular structure of water and all that this incredible substance does to keep me alive every day!”
“Wow! I sure am grateful for the moon and all the tides it caused this year, keeping our oceans from becoming stagnant and dead”
“Thank God that Earth has a transparent, breathable, and protective atmosphere!”
The more I learn about the created physical world around me, the more I find to be thankful for. Not just provision in the physical world to be thankful for, but also reminders of the character of our Creator, God, placed throughout the physical world, urging us to give thanks for not just what He made but Who He is. The physical world is not completely separate from the spiritual; rather they are different aspects of reality as a whole. Just as four dimensions in our physical world, including length, width, depth, and time, can be used to describe the same situation, there are different dimensions to the same reality. There are spiritual, physical, psychological, mental, and emotional dimensions all woven together into the reality we humans face every day.
There are many lies – vain, deceitful philosophies – that focus too much on one or two of these reality dimensions and ignore the importance of the others. Lies from the materialistic worldview will focus too much on the physical dimension, while other enticing teachings will get you caught up in only the spiritual side of things. Much as we all would like to keep work problems at work, home problems at home, and personal problems to ourselves, different aspects of our lives interconnect and influence each other. Life wasn’t meant to be a chaotic disaster of dissonant sounds coming from a disorganized orchestra, but a spectacular symphony of many separate sounds streaming together, lead by a divine Director.
The next time you start counting your blessings, remember how the physical and spiritual blessings interconnect. Set up physical reminders of spiritual things, like the faithfulness of the Lord, to give thanks for. While physical blessings certainly are important, the blessings we should be most grateful for are the ones we can’t see because the spiritual ones last longer.
“Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” ~ 1 Samuel 7:12
Copyright Sara J, Bruegel, November 2015