Monday, September 15, 2014

On a Giving of Thanks


Thankfulness…wholehearted gratitude for blessings bestowed. I’m still quite positive I don’t have it completely figured out, because properly figured out means it’s fully lived. (And I’m still laboring along trying to figure out why I had to come down with a trifling cold this last week—unless it was pushing me to ponder all this again—this giving of thanks.)

Thanksgiving: it’s closely connected with discernment and sanctification (Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, etc). And requiring discipline, it’s often as hard to remember when things are going well as when not. Yet God commands us to take joy and give thanks to Him in all things. And what’s more—somehow—He’s using our thanksgiving to change the world as He’s taking it apart and putting it back together again in most new and glorious fashion.

The gifting and calling to thanksgiving is intricately woven into the very fabric of His world, stretching back to the beginning—into all the careful, patterned placement of gold threads and dark highlighting shadows. 

It’s one of the primary evidences of our faith. The Israelites in the desert were cut off in their disbelief…they grumbled

It’s a sowing and a dying in thanks. It’s a daily resurrection and a springing forth of new life—in joy and thanks. It lies at the very center of our weekly worship—in the breaking and the giving of thanks and the taking and eating. 

Giving thanks is not a sugar coating over life. Giving thanks does not preclude wrestling and grappling and pleading. But giving thanks orients our hearts and minds and souls—training us in how to do it properly. It trains us to step back and see. It trains us to live in faith.


4 comments:

  1. This-this is good stuff, Heidi. Thank you. I needed this reminder after my job just keeps throwing more and more work at me. But I could not have a job, I could not get paid overtime, I could make less money, etc... It's about making an effort to be grateful and focusing on our blessings, right?

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    1. I'm so glad you found it a blessing, Joanna! And yes...counting the blessings. And I think (and this is really hard) starting to see past the hardships--or rather catching the vision beyond and underneath them--the vision you can only sometimes gain when you're in the middle of them.

      To use a recent fictional example :-) Anne Elliot wouldn't have been the same if she'd just married Wentworth at the beginning without those eight years of hardship. And even saying that--from our vantage point--it's still hard to see why they had to happen.

      To use a very non-fictional example: the agony and death of Christ, the perfect Son, brought life to the world--(and there you most certainly can't have one without the other)!

      It's all very mysterious and there's definitely plenty of room for a whole series of blog posts... :-)

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  2. Well said!

    It makes me think of the 3 years we spent living in a too-small apartment in a big city, and then the 6 months in a a bigger but infested apartment. I have definitely been so much more thankful for my current house than I would have been if I'd gotten it before I had to live in some uncomfortable and unsavory places. Awful at the time, but helpful in the end in making me really appreciate my current blessings.

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    1. Hamlette,
      Thank you! And yes, God's ways are so mysterious... Sometimes He takes us through some painful (or just downright uncomfortable) times, but then afterwards the blessing or glory on the other side of it gives a whole different perspective to that pain. It's like--finite creatures that we are--we wouldn't have been big enough to start containing it...that weight of goodness and blessing...if we hadn't been stretched and molded and prepared beforehand.

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