In which I say a 1,000 thank you’s to God (#’s 300-316)

by Craig on May 23, 2011

If you were in my twitter stream yesterday, if you have read Deep into Love today, you know that my heart is heavy because somehow, I don’t know how, it has learned to bear pain that is not its own.

So my thank you’s to God, by necessity today, center around this deplorably dreadful weekend. Dreadful, not because of any circumstance of mine – but because my sister was devastated – and through her sadness, I was demolished.

I’ve learned from Ann Voskamp that if we only say thank you to God for the good stuff, if we only count the happy things as blessings, we are miscounting in our accounting of gratitude.

And so today, I thank you Lord…

#300 … for a chance to better understand the incomprehensible depth, of your love, for your children, for us.

#301 … that you created us all and don’t just leave us here spinning on this blue dot suspended on sunbeams.  You enter into our suffering, somehow, even more profoundly than we do ourselves.

#302 … that you are all-powerful – but that’s not such a tough thing for a god to be. What astonishes me is that you are beyond all-powerful. You are all-loving. You are Love.

#303 … that this separates you from any concept of any “God” that mankind has imagined since the dawn of time.

We have invented gods who create the seasons. We have imagined gods who summoned the power of lightning bolts. We have concocted gods who order followers to kill in rage and vengeance and terror.

But no one could ever invent a God who is all-powerful, and who is also purest love unbounded. And I am, we are, so undeniably and infinitely fortunate to know you – and to be covered in your love like we like we envelop a newborn in a blanket.

image source

#304 … that you forgive the times that I am not aware of this in the way that I should be.

#305 … for people who hear of someone struggling and asking for prayer, then bend their knees and pray for that struggle, and that person.

#306 … for how you hear those prayers and respond, and while maintaining all the fabric of time and space, bend low to console a single. wounded. heart.

#307 … that somehow you have prepared me to be a rock during times of immense grief for my sister.

#308 … how you can take such an inconstant, unreliable, unworthy one as me – and make him a rock to be leaned on.

#309 … that you prepared me not to fail her.

#310 … that you conferred upon me the ability to open my heart and enter into her suffering – because it far exceeded my own capacity for compassion and empathy.

#311 … that it’s only the God who is all knowing, and all powerful, and all love, who could – and would, do that. Thank you.

#312 … that the noblest emotions that we feel and share reflect in minute degree the emotions of the One who created and sustains us.

image source

#313 … that when we love, when we understand, when we give, and when we live to serve others, we reflect the One person who is perfect.

#314 … for this somber weekend full of the sorrow which was not mine, but became mine because of You. I hated all of it. I loved how present You were in it – and how responsible You were for it.

#315 … that we are modeled after truest Goodness, and Righteousness, and Love – created in your image.

#316 … that you are so patient with my imperfect reflection of you.

Amen and amen.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn May 23, 2011 at 10:19 am

What spoke to me this morning was your paragraph on inventing God. Oh, how I would like to do that and have to be really careful that I don’t! Reading through Numbers and reading how God swallowed up people in an earthquake and brought a plague on others after Moses pleaded with Him to have mercy. What God wanted to do was “wipe these people out!” This is a mercy I don’t understand at this moment and I was asking God for some answers. I was fairly shaken, I’ll have you know, when I linked onto a video recommended on Ann’s site this weekend. All of a sudden I found myself face to face with Francis Chan via of a You Tube video speaking to me about this very issue. How did she know I was going to need this? It was like Pastor Chan was speaking right to me.

This community of believers that I am surrounded by here in cyberspace…there are no words to describe my gratitude for all of you. A verse in Philippians came to me, Craig, as I read of what your are going through with your sister. Philippians 3: 10 “[because you] want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”
I think you are able to be there for your sister because you want to know Him and this is the way to that. Even though you are just thinking about caring for your sister right now, I think it’s bigger than that.

Headline news says 89 were killed in tornadoes around Joplin, Missouri today. I hope you and yours are safe.
God bless you,
Dawn

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 11:37 am

Dawn, how I do love a “God worked that out in a cool sort of way” story. I am learning that the more connected we are to people who are connected with Him, the more this happens. I heart when this happens! And yes, there is something amazing to be learned through this… I’ll be talking with Him about it. Say a prayer for my sis if you get a chance, she’s got to make it through work today while still holding this grief in her. She’ll need Angels.I’ve already told her that there are many who have prayed for her. And Joplin? Just destroyed. So sad. St. Louis is hours away from Joplin. We had our tornado – the one that hit 5 miles from where I’m sitting right now. I’m thinking were done for a while. God bless and keep you Dawn!

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Deborah May 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

Love number 305. Thanks for sharing.

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

Deborah, thank you very much for reading – I heart number 305 as well. Especially online – we are separated by so much space and time – and prayer is the one thing that we can do that eliminates all separation. Prayer is bigger and faster and better than all of the internets :-) God bless and keep you and all of yours this day Deborah!

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Kris May 23, 2011 at 11:31 am

#306. Yes. YES. My mind spins circles trying to even begin to imagine how A God, Our God serves and hears all and bends low to comfort each one, giving full care and attention to us as individuals, not lumping all our broken bits together in a heap, but rather taking us each one, alone and holding, comforting, healing us- all at once…. it is obviously not something we can ever understand, but we can count is as gift, for it truly is LOVE unmatched. Praying for you, your sister, trusting that the great healer will bind the wounds and kiss them away, replacing the holes with more of himself, more of HIM to fill.

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Craig May 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm

first of all Kris, you’ll never guess where I found three, count ’em, three of your comments just now. That will explain why I am a week late in responding to this comment. My spam catcher hearts you. I can only hope that it outgrows the crush. My sister, by the way, is healing from the heart. I think the prayers of so many, yours included were truly helpful.thank you Kris, and God bless you, and stay out of my spam! :-)

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DJ Hughes May 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I admire your way with words. This is my first time here. Your topics listed are interesting to me. I’ll have to spend some more time here. It’s nice to “meet” you.

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

DJ, thank you for your kind and gracious words. It’s nice to “meet” you to. I heart the Bible – I heart God – I hope that comes through a little bit. Thank you very much for reading me, and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours.

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Cora May 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

305, 306, 307. . .How can there possibly be a “favorite?” I only know you have been in my prayers all day, and so has your sister been in my prayers. I know about sisters. I know about protecting them. And I know about when you can’t, and you pray, and others pray, and through Him, you hold fast to the pieces of hearts broken. I want to say I’m “amazed” at how God works in and through people so that they are “rocks” at times when a ROCK is what is needed . . . but He does it all the time. Please know I’m holding you and your sister up in my continued prayers!

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm

thank you, Cora, for praying for my sister. I’ve told her she’s been prayed for by more than just me, you have helped make that promise real. Thank you. And as always thank you for reading me, and God bless and keep you and all of yours.

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LuAnne May 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Oh # 312 – and the image that followed – how that moved me!

Knowing that the “noblest” emotions we feel, really feel – and that those are but a “minute reflection” of His feelings – how can we not stand in awe of His love? Incomprehensible, and yet, for us – each of us! – today and now and as soon as we say the “yes” to Him!

Thank you so much for sharing this!

~Peace,

LuAnne

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

LuAnne, I was wondering if anyone would look into that I deeply enough to see the face of our Lord. It moved me too. Thank you for noticing. And our noblest emotions – and they are noble, to be sure – it’s just that compared to God they pale. thank you very much for reading, and peace to you too.

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Grace Walker May 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

And what a gift you must be to your sister! Indeed to love with compassion is a most necessary and wonderful truth. Blessings on your both. May God lift her burden.

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

and Grace, she is as much of a gift to me. Thank you for praying. And as always God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours!

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Susan@ThoughtfulSpot May 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm

your sister touches my heart through your words, blessed poet. . .I lift her up unseen even now to the One-Who-Sees-Me . . . Genesis 16:13

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:20 am

Susan, your words are far too gracious, still thank you for them. I have told my sister that she has been prayed for by people she doesn’t even know.

I know that I know that I know that the prayers have, and will be working. Thank you, thank you, and God bless you today.

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Kristin May 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I’m so sorry for your sisters pain. I will lift her up and I know what a blessing you are to her, the brother so full of love and compassion, grace. . .gifts from God.

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:23 am

Kristen, thank you, your prayers are important, so really, thank you for them – I need my sister prayed up right now. And me? I’m just doing my job :-) she is a gift to me. Thank you very, very much, and God bless and keep you and all of yours this day.

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Debra May 24, 2011 at 12:35 am

I’m interceding for your sister. What is her name? Names help. Or I could just prayer for “Craig’s sister. “ God knows your beloved sister’s name.
~ Love and blessings

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

Debra, thank you so much for praying. Her name is Gina, she actually commented on my love blog yesterday, she did it this morning, she’s not supposed to read when I write about her behind her back :-)

Thankfully she was kind. love and blessings to you too Debra, and thank you as always.

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Debbie May 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

These are all beautiful, with a deep gratitude . . .the harder joy. Thank you for showing us how that works. Praying for you and for her . . .God bless you.

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Craig May 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Debbie, way too late to respond to your comment with anything but a short THANK YOU! Sorry I’m so far behind in replying – God bless you Debbie.

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A. June 2, 2011 at 12:37 am

Craig, because we know that time doesn’t limit God…i am praying for your sister now.

Heart 315 because we are often told we are dank, dark sinners with no good in us, yet we are made in HIS image!!!!! Thank you for setting the record on this one a bit straighter! :)

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