In which I say thank you to God 1,000 times (#’s 401-418)

by Craig on June 27, 2011

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#401 … that this morning follows the night of no sleep – a night where my body refused to let me rest. It is much more the norm than any variation of it. I hated it – and regularly hate it – but love You for allowing it.

#402 … that this thorn in my side,
this inability to ever rest,
which is ever present,
and deprives me of much,

is a conduit of Your Grace,

Your constant, if sometimes bittersweet Grace.

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#403 … that You don’t like it when we’re hurting. You care when we’re broken.

#404 … that it’s much more than simply poetic language that You “save our tears” (PS 56:8). For to save them, You must be present to collect them, and then possess them in order to keep them.

#405 … that You don’t have to do that but. You. do.

#406 … that it isn’t surprising that compassion, which is written in the rules of Your love – is a substance of Your being.

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#407 … for the rules of Your love, patience, kindness, benevolence, humility, thoughtfulness, other-directedness, peace, mercy, nobility, truth, persistence, faith, and hope.

#408 … for how You reach down and don’t condemn.

#409 … for Your strong hand that sometimes disciplines – and maybe disciplines harshly, but always appropriately.

#410 … for that same strong hand that carries us through any discipline, any hardship, any fear, any hurt, any hopelessness, any doubts, tears, struggles, all emptiness, pain, heart ache, any discouragement, or loneliness, or weakness, or weariness…

#411 … for how You tell us not to worry, yet put Your arms around us when we do.

#412 … for how You instruct us not to doubt, but You understand that doubt is a condition that results from living in this broken world – and You console and strengthen us – when we come to you with them.

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#413 … How You command us to obey – and when we mess up – You forgive as we repent and continue to try.

#414 … that when Scripture says You bore our infirmities on the cross, that means every sorrow, every regret, every worry, every fear, each failure, every hard thing from each lifetime ever lived on this broken, spinning blue dot suspended on sunbeams.

#415 … that You still bear the full weight of our sin, our emptiness, loneliness, sadness.

#416 … for how great Your love is. How hard is it to bear the struggle of one person, to feel the sadness, grief, or pain of just one other person. But to bear every bit of the darkness of billions? How immeasurably magnificent is that!

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#417 … Oh, how much the weight of one life can bury us in rubble and leave us tattered and torn and broken. How must the weight of an entire planet’s history of brokenness have left You tattered and torn?

#418 … for that moment, or those moments, or those days, or these millennia, that You voluntarily chose, and choose to bear the full weight and brunt of the penalty of all sin on Your shoulders, stronger than Atlas – and with the perfection of the only God.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn June 27, 2011 at 8:22 am

Dear Craig,

I started at Deep into Love and realized you hadn’t gotten there yet. I came here and now I see why you haven’t gotten to the other place. This is so very, very rich. I feel like Elizabeth did (last week?) when she said the depth of your list is what makes it so very special to read. This kind of list demands deep introspection and reflection. My personal favorites # 403,
# 404 and # 413. I think these are thanksgivings that guide me after my CRAPPY day experience this past week. Complete failure = brokenness. You can work with brokenness. You were there to catch my tears (and there were a lot of them because I was wailing!) and you possess them. I had to give up in the light of such compassion, repented and am starting again.

I also loved the others, but these spoke to me at the core of my being. When your closing ones were about the burdens He carries of the whole world, my heart broke. I’ve got to go “run” with the muttlies now. Sometimes I just have to walk out such intenity.

God bless you, O sleepless one,
Dawn

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 10:17 am

Dawn, thank you, thank you. You know I always say that Poems. Hate. Me. That’s because I have to work so hard at them – and there is no joy in the writing – no matter how they turn out – they take more than their fair pound of flesh per word. Thank you lists – they just flow – and heavy or light – they are a joy to write. They still take few hours to edit, and find the perfect pictures, and make them “just so” – but it flows – and it’s a joy. Poems are ONLY a joy to read (⌣˛⌣) thank you Dawn, and God bless and keep you.

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Terri June 27, 2011 at 9:07 am

Craig, your list brought tears to my eyes today. If only we could understand the magnitude of God’s love for us, we would probably not be able to bear it. Great list of blessings today! P.S. I hope you get some rest. :-)

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

thank you, Terri – honestly, thank you. It brought tears to my eyes as I wrote it – and as I wrote it I understood it better – how deep, how wide, how broad HIS love. And rest? It comes – but mostly it doesn’t – it hasn’t for almost 15 years – no Dr. seems to have a cure – I figure it’s just a thorn in the side – just a thorn – I hate it – but I love HIM for allowing it. And I’ve said many times – if He takes it I’ll praise him – if He leaves it – I’ll praise him. It serves a purpose. It keeps a once arrogant and stubborn and proud heart…

Humble.

If that’s what I get in the trade – then I want that more than rest. God bless you, and thank you Terri.

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Kelly June 27, 2011 at 9:17 am

Yes, we had one of those nights last week- and I was so pumped when I could invite my husband into gift listing and prayer at 2am! I am grateful He never slumbers nor sleeps- and so can keep us company when we wake in the nightwatches. Blessings to you!

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

Kelly, your comment me smile – and on a gray, dreary day – smiles are welcome. 2 AM thank you lists and prayer are sometimes the very, very best. God is open 24 hours – with drive-through service – and delivery – and doesn’t require a tip :-) thank you Kelly, and blessings to you too!

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amy June 27, 2011 at 9:30 am

this takes my breathe away. thank you craig.

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

Amy – the simplest of names that means the absolute world – that means the most important thing – I’m feeling a little poet-y right now – sorry (◠‿◠). If I have never told you that, it was my mistake – or maybe I wanted to wait till you ‘”knew” me better. I know I thought it.

And Our Lord? He took my breath away as I wrote this today. I heart it when I’m close enough to hear him. God bless you Amy, and thank you more than I can say.

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Layla Payton June 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

Our brokenness reveals His strength, doesn’t it, Craig?

This was lovely. Bittersweet, but lovely. I pray you find some rest soon. It is so hard to bear this world without rest. It’s why He offers us rest through Him. Because, only He can truly refresh us. As with food and water, only Jesus can offer the everlasting sustenance.

Last week was filled with brokenness, crying out to God, praying away darkness, while hopelessness was trying desperately to take over…but JOY comes in the morning!!! We are seeing darkness cower; cast down. Our God REIGNS! He WILL fight for us.

He is fighting for you.

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

Layla, I never understood – I mean really understood – “in our weakness he is strong” until this “sleep thing”took control.

And rest? As I wrote in reply to Terri’s comment — it comes – but mostly it doesn’t – it hasn’t for almost 15 years – no Dr. seems to have a cure – I figure it’s just a thorn in the side – just a thorn – I hate it – but I love HIM for allowing it. And I’ve said many times – if He takes it I’ll praise him – if He leaves it – I’ll praise him. It serves a purpose. It keeps a once arrogant and stubborn and proud heart…

Humble.

If that’s what I get in the trade – then I want that more than rest.

it makes my heart light to know that filled with broken, hopelessness trying to take over – You. Went. To. God. That makes me smile – not the hardness – but your faith. I suspect it makes Our Lord Smile too!

He is fighting for all of us – he has a BIG job (◠‿◠).

Thank you Layla, thank you for your encouragement, and your kind heart, just – thank you. And God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours this day.

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Cora June 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

Craig, you are living proof today that the Lord uses our pain and brokenness to flow through us into others. I read the comments above as I wiped away my own tears and thought about those “rules of love.” I felt His reassurance as He wrapped me in them and said, “These are what I am!” I needed this after a sleepless night, too, as another bottle of tears was collected and safely stored away somewhere for safe keeping. Thank you . . . !!!

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 10:40 am

it’s no fun being used Cora (◠_◠) but I trust him – so even though I don’t heart to sleep thing – I’m okay with. thank you as always Cora – and I’ve already thrown a prayer up to heaven for you this day. (◠‿◠) God bless and keep you!

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Cindy Holman June 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

Love #404 – it has sustained and kept me over the last couple of years.

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Cindy, it’s one thing to think about God as being sympathetic – another thing to think about him as being empathetic – there is such a big difference. He really does enter into our stuff with us – he feels what we go through – all of us at the same time – amazing – and true. I’m glad that you have allowed him to sustain you. God bless you Cindy – and thank you.

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Kris June 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

I can’t imagine what it is like to go on night after night, chasing the sleep that doesn’t come. When I have had bouts of insomnia (during pregnancies) they have felt like torture, and you face this nightly. Not only do you face this, but you give thanks for the struggle and in that there is rich blessing for your soul. Your lists are humbling to read, and inspiring reminders that there is indeed thanks to be given in the HARD things. Blessings, Craig. Praying for you.

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

it’s like I can never imagine what it’s like having a baby Kris – it’s hard to explain – but the symptoms are not – the symptoms are obvious – what it does to me and now I have to fight every single day to not look the way I feel. But as I’ve said – if Our Lord takes it I’m thankful – if Our Lord doesn’t heal it – I’m thankful too.

I think sometimes my lists are way bigger than me – because they’re about Him – and so they ARE bigger – He is a far more inspiring figure then I. Thank you for your prayers Kris. And bless you too!

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Grace Walker June 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

So sorry about the elusive sleep! Insomnia is the devil’s torment sometimes. Thank God you focus on God in those times. I’ve got a friend who swears by melatonin…she gets it at the health food store. And thanks indeed for the manifold graces of God!

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

thank you Grace. Melatonin was one of the very first things I tried, many, many years ago. Whatever this is it it goes far beyond melatonin – and if it were one day just every once in a while or even every other day – but it’s much more than that – and it’s had a cumulative effect over the many, many years. I truly have tried just about everything from herbal remedies to neurologists to acupuncture to chiropractic to – well name it. But there is strength in numbers – and there is strength in someone who has a heart to care – which you do – and I am grateful for that. Thank you, and God bless you.

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Christina June 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm

417 is something I could think on for a long time–amazing grace! And the tears in the bottle–so true and mine seem countless yet He is able and does count them! Thank you again for a wonderful list that points me straight to Him:)

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Craig June 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm

and I think the thought may have crossed my mind before about number 417 – and how he may still literally bear everything bad in everyone’s lives. It’s an amazing concept to think of – not only that he cares – but that he actually feels. I shake my head as I write this because it’s such an astonishing thought. Thank you Christina, thank you, and as always – and I feel like saying thank you again, so thank you — and God bless and keep you and all of yours.

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Debbie June 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Thank you for listing all this, each one a beautiful thank you to Him. I think #411 is my one to hold onto today. I don’t always know I am worried or stressed. But He’s showing me and holding me as I learn and teaching me a different way of being. :)
God bless you and surround you with His love!

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A. June 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

#402 is for my days now, yes, and #408 is a beautiful thing: I want to be like that, too.

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Craig June 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

just wanted to know that I have prayed for your “days” – and we all need to be like Jesus. No? God bless you A.

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Rachel June 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm

#404 Psalms 56:8 is one of my favorite passages, I like the way you described it here! Gods tender mercy and his care! That he takes the time to gather our tears!

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Craig June 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Thank you Rachel – it’s funny that you should pick that one – with all of your jars :-) obviously He collects them too. and the way I described it here, today – it was only in prayer with him – only just before I wrote this, that I thought of it this way. I don’t think it was me – I’ll give Him the credit. Thank you for reading. And God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours.

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Mari June 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Its awesome when we can thank God for the thorn(s)! (Not sure Im there yet) Your list is always so filled with gratitude over God’s character that it is a blessing to read. On a side note, I am listening to the audiobook “A Place of Healing” by Joni Earekson Tada and thought of you. It is free for the month of June and a true blessing http://christianaudio.com/free/. God bless you Craig.

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Craig June 30, 2011 at 11:50 am

Ann Voskamp says that if we’re counting – and were not counting the hard things – then we’re miscounting. I don’t want to miscount – and so much of life IS struggle – to find blessing, and gratitude in that part of life – that has to be a key to being “happy”. Someday – when I actually have a spare moment – and right now every waking moment is accounted for – EVERY SINGLE ONE – well, almost all of them – I’ll give Joni a listen. God bless you Mari!

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