Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanks for What?!

Ah, yes. Here we all are, basking in the food-induced coma after glow of Thanksgiving. The family, the football, the food. And today, Black Friday, is all about the consumerism. The greed. The money. The stuff. Ah, yes, Thanksgiving.

But, dare I ask, thanks be to whom? And for what purpose? It is not so much a question anymore of for what are you thankful, but to whom are you thankful?

See, our society, thanks to the careful and patient guiding of Satan (a very real entity in the world, do not delude yourself into thinking he's not) has become so accustomed to cutting God (another very real entity in the world, do not delude yourself into thinking He's not) so far out of the picture that He is rarely even considered in our regular everyday lives. He is not come to when there are concerns. His word is not counseled when there is confusion. He is not leaned upon when they are issues. He has been slowly and very nearly cut away from the fabric of our lives.

But He is here, none the less, waiting, helping, thinking, loving. All for you. Simply because you choose to ignore Him doesn't make Him any less real. He is here, and he is waiting for you.

So I ask again, to whom are you thankful? When you stopped yesterday to consider all the reasons you have to be thankful (assuming, of course, you actually did do that; the modern world, and Americans in particular, are awfully good at having everything and appreciating nothing) did you thank God for His love, and beneficence, and gifts to you? Or did you thank luck? Or did you thank "the universe" -- whatever that means. Or did you thank -- and I'm willing to bet this was most people -- yourself?

Did you thank yourself for providing yourself with all the wonderful things you have. Because, after all, it was all you, right? You're the one who works your tail off, isn't it? You're the one who went through school to get where you are, right? You're the one who earns the money, makes the budget, pays the bills, and does every other damn thing to make your life livable, right? Why shouldn't you thank yourself for all your hard work?

Why not? Because you didn't actually do any of that, it was God working through you for your own good and His own reasons, even if you never have or never will acknowledge Him for it. It was God that gave you the will and the strength to work hard everyday, whether its at a factory job or making your way through grad school. It was God who gave you the talents that make your job possible at all. It was God who has provided you with gift upon gift upon gift, regardless of whether you deserved it or not. It was God, is God, and always will be God.

Now, I can just here all the angry, bitter people getting their hackles up. "What did God ever do for me?" they sneer. "Where was He when I was hurting and in pain? Where was He when I was suffering? I've made it this far without God, I don't need Him for anything, and I don't need to thank Him for anything."

To which I can only say its a matter of seeing what is right before one's face, or choosing to ignore what is there instead. When you were hurting and in pain, did you survive? Did you make it through? Are you now alive? Where did the strength, the will, the skill to do that come from? Yourself? That's laughable! If you are alive, if you still have breath in your lungs, you are enjoying a beautiful gift from God. If you choose to deny its source or to deny the giver, that's on you, but your denial doesn't make that any less a gift from God.

So stop now if you haven't already and take a hard look at your life. Were there times that you just didn't know how things would work out, yet they did? Were there times when you just didn't know where they money for a bill would come from, or where the food for the family would come from, and yet it did? Did you wish for a miracle, and it happened? This is God working in your life, this is God whispering to you, "I'm here, my love, and I'm not leaving you. Ever."

If you choose to ignore that, fine. If you choose to deny that's actually God, fine. If you are too angry to see the gift for what it is, fine. But these are your choices, your actions. Not God's. He is not walking away from you. He is not abandoning you. He is not ignoring your need. You are being an arrogant, spoiled brat who doesn't appreciate everything the Father is doing. But at least recognize that God is here, and God is giving to you everyday, whether you want to thank him for it or not.

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