Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Give thanks to the Lord or Beans and rice again?

Psalm 118:1-2
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let Israel say,
    'His steadfast love endures forever.'"

Giving thanks to God, who technically created everything, who made the earth, the sun, the moon, the other suns, and you seems like it should be easy. He made you. Why is it hard?

The first thing that we humans have against us is something called homeostasis. When you change your environment there are biological reactions that occur in you to maintain your body temperature. There are other reactions that maintain your blood pH and glucose levels. Biologically you remain the same because there are internal processes that keep you the same. Psychological homeostasis is similar. People who win the lottery are ecstatic and remain so until the euphoria wears off. When they've adjusted to their new environment, that's their new normal. People who have babies have to adjust to less sleep and less time spent as a couple. Speaking from experience, this gets easier with time, it's my new normal.

When we live life day-to-day we have trouble seeing things that happen every day as something to be thankful for. These things are just normal. The sun rises, the blankets are warm, the cat is soft, the coffee is good, the laptop turns on, the sink has running water, the fridge is full of food. Things are as they should be.

Reflect and thank God for these things! They are normal for you but you must actively see them or they'll be totally invisible. He has blessed you with many things because "his steadfast love endures forever!"

The second thing is we are prideful. I don't like thanking an invisible force for invisible things. Thanking God feels like being Pip and thanking Magwitch. Obscure reference? Yes! In Great Expectations Pip spends years receiving money from an unknown benefactor. He owes this person his living but doesn't know who he is. Sometimes God feels that distant and impersonal. How can I thank someone I haven't even met? Ah, good question. You see there's your problem. Meeting God, being with him, worshiping him in spirit and truth, reading what he did with others before us, praying and talking to him. All these things bring us close to this amazing being who created us. He formed you in your mother's womb. Get to know him, and thankfulness will flow out of you like it does David in this Psalm. Your pride will melt away.

Beans and rice again? God thank you for giving me food to eat! Thank you for giving me a loving wife who likes to cook! Thank you for a freezer that keeps the food! Thank you for electricity, farmers and trucks that allowed these things to get to me so cheaply.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

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