‘If God really works in everything — then why don’t we thank Him for everything?”
She asks me this straight out.
My daughter, Hope, and I, we sit in the truck on the field’s hem, waiting to give the Farmer his lunch.
The Farmer’s planting bean seeds into earth’s dark bed. The sky’s rising darker in the west.
He races rain.
“For every drop of rain You keep from falling on us planting— thank you, Lord…”
I had murmured the prayer, water splatting hard against the windshield of the pickup.
We need at least one more day of dry weather to plant a year’s worth of beans, our livelihood.
“And for every drop of rain that You do let fall — thank you, Lord…” My daughter, Hope, whispers her strange echo.
Really? I turn, searching her face.
She looks me right in the eye.
“If God really works in everything, why don’t we thank Him for everything? Why do we accept good from His hand — and not bad?”
This is hard. Maybe the hardest of all. She is young. She has much to come.
I have held dying babies. Eaten with those who live on the town garbage heap. Wept with women who’ve been violated, with the bankrupt, the heart crushed, the terminal. And this never stops being true: Neglecting to give thanks only deepens the wound of the world.
Doesn’t God call His people to a non-discriminating response in all circumstances? “[G]iv[e] thanks always and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20 ESV).
If I only thank Him when the fig tree buds — is this “selective faith”? Practical atheism? What of faith in a God who wastes nothing? Who makes all into grace?
And yet — is thanking God for everything… thanking Him for evil?
Rivulets run down glass, blurring my husband and all our seeded prayers. What do I accurately see and know?
When we bought the enemy’s lie in the beginning and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan hissed then that we’d really see and know what is good and evil.
But the father of lies, he’d duped us in the whole nine yards. Though we ate of that tree we did not become like God.
We have no knowledge of good and evil apart from God. My seeing, it is not omniscient. Can I really see if a death, disaster, dilemma, is actually evil? Mine is only to faithfully see His Word and wholly obey Him in this. Therein is the tree of life.
Is this why He commands “giv[e] thanks always and for everything”? Because to thank God in all is to refuse Satan’s relentless lure to be god-like in all.
To thank God in all is to bend the knee in allegiance to God Who alone knows all.
To thank God in all is to give God glory in all. Is this not our chief end?
When I only give thanks for some things, aren’t I likely to miss giving God glory in most things?
Murmuring thanks isn’t to deny that an event isn’t a tragedy and neither does it deny that there’s a cracking fissure straight across the heart.
Giving thanks is only this: making the canyon of pain into a megaphone to proclaim the ultimate goodness of God.
Our thanks to God is our witness to the goodness of God when Satan and all the world would sneer at us to recant.
I lay my hand on the rain-filmed windowpane and I see clearer. But this is not easy: That which I refuse to thank Christ for, I refuse to believe Christ can redeem.
The grey sky’s drumming steady on the truck’s tin roof.
His perfect love casts out all fears and leaves only thanks and I listen to her sing it, like a chorus with the rain: Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.
Like a song from the belly of the fish, like a Jonah refrain echoing off the walls of the whale: “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you…” (Jonah 2:9 ESV)
Like a haunting, holy answer to what she asks, the song of the saints, always thanksgiving — practicing here the only song that will be sung at the very last of time, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving… to our God” (Rev. 7:12 ESV).
I lilt it soft with her — Thank you, Lord — faith’s brazen song facing storms.
And I can hear it, agreeing, singing too —
the rhythm of all this falling rain …
Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart.
For the next Three Weeks might we explore: The Practice of Preparing… What does it look like to prepare our hearts for God? How do we prepare our families and homes to encounter God afresh this holiday season? How do we intentionally, prayerfully prepare for holy-days? The whole community looks forward to your prayerful reflections stories, ideas….
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