Isaiah 63: 7 – 16 poignantly describes how often we look to our experience of blessing, rescue, and help acknowledging the earthly causes: our healing is from the doctor’s care, our wisdom through that education or experience, our stability through our job or good fortune, or (as in Israel’s case) our salvation through the hard work of men like Moses and Abraham. While there’s true to all that, Isaiah reminds us it is not the whole truth. Ultimately our salvation, Isaiah tells Israel, did not come from Moses or even the mighty angel that went before us as a fiery pillar. It came from the One who called and worked through each of these agents. It came through God’s own person, God’s own presence, God’s own life.
God is the One who works healing in the midst of disease, comfort in the midst of pain, joy in the midst of sorrow, life in the midst of death, hope in the midst of despair, liberty from the heart of oppression. It is God whose strength allows us to lift our heads with confidence, and whose resiliency enables us to find liberation and recovery from abuse or addiction.
It is important to acknowledge our gratitude for each person and part of creation that has benefited us, being sources of help, healing, blessing, security, freedom, and liberation. Do so.
Yet also our true spiritual freedom and fullness of life can only come when we realize that these too are agents of the Living One, whose presence is nearer than the air that we breathe, and word to us is always “love”. Take time through these gifts to also experience that One, to open your heart to that Sacred presence, and to develop closeness to God. Doing so is the greatest way to begin to thank God for the gifts God has sent your way.