Week’s end with thanks in the wake of recent events…

by Kari on December 16, 2012

I’ve been at a loss for how to do this week’s end with thanks. On the one hand, I am overflowing with circumstantial things to be thankful for.  They go like this …

  • Hikes and Daddy Day and a wonderful week with my kids.
  • The house we live in (rent) SOLD this week! Perfect timing for us moving and for the people who own this house, and the dear couple moving in, and for us. Excited for all three parties!
  • Packing. As much as I don’t love moving, I do love organizing everything, tossing, purging, and cleaning out closets. It’s a great feeling and I’m grateful for it!
  • God turning another publisher rejection into another opportunity to praise, grow, learn. VERY excited to be putting out TWO e-books very soon, just in time for Christmas, and excited to give one to YOU.
  • Great friends.
  • Homemade pizza.
  • Discovering new friends who are “weird” just like us. That’s so fun!

On the other hand, this week was one of unspeakable tragedy. The shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary have us in constant prayer for those dozens of families who have lost loved ones this week.

It seems, in response, there are two ways to thank in the wake of this weeks’s events.  

One, we can thank God that it didn’t happen to us. This is very natural. I am absolutely thankful that I tucked my children into bed last night. That as I type these words my son is playing with Legos right beside me. That my daughter is snuggling in bed with daddy. I watched them sleep last night, their tiny chests rising and falling, and couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude that they are still here.

But, our thanks can get deeper (and better) than that.

See, so often our (my) thanks just stays there. Though it’s natural, and normal, all it is essentially is: “Thank you, God, that that person’s suffering isn’t mine. That you that that didn’t happen to me.” In some ways (though not as pridefully), it’s like the Pharisee’s pray of thanks in Luke 18:

“‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.”

It’s only an itty-bitty step up (if at all) to merely thank God that we aren’t experiencing the horror and pain that other people are. And although we’d never purposefully put it that way, if we aren’t careful we will naturally become people who merely thank God when bad stuff doesn’t happen to us.

So this week, I’ve been thinking about how to thank God in ways that are deeper, better, truer, than simply, “Thank you that my children are still alive!” I’m not pretending that’s not in my heart, but here are things I’m thankful for beyond that, in light of everything this week:

  • That God is in control of every single moment and every single event and that nothing is outside His sovereign power.
  • That God WILL right every wrong and bring absolutely justice to every situation and every person on earth, in the end.
  • That God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
  • That God has a special love for children.
  • That every single one of those precious children, I believe, are safely tucked into the arms of Jesus.
  • That, I believe, God will use this tragedy to draw many to Himself, first and foremost the parents of those who were killed. Praying and believing that!!
  • That perhaps, I pray, these atrocities will awaken our nation to the reality of evil and show us the natural outcome of a culture that celebrates sin and death. Please God, open our eyes. Turn us back to You.
  • That the gospel, our faith, rests entirely on God bringing the greatest good out of the most horrific tragedy of all time. NOTHING is so terrible that God cannot bring it to good. He showed us that on the cross and He can do that today.
As we continue to process this week’s events, we weep with those who weep, pray for comfort, and thank God for who He is: Unchanging, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Emmanuel–God with us. Thanks for reading.

 

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine December 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Wow, I appreciate this post so much. Thank you for reminding me to go beyond just thanking God for my own family’s safety, and to take it deeper by thanking God for WHO HE IS: Redeemer, lover, righteous judge, merciful friend, comforter, healer, (and on and on and on). My heart needed some nudging, and a reminder that He will work all things for good. Beauty from ashes.

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Lacey December 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

You put this so perfectly. It is such an additional tragedy that in situations like this so many turn away from God because they blame Him, rather than turning to Him. I keep giving thanks that THIS life is not the end, you know?

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Cayly E December 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

“-That, I believe, God will use this tragedy to draw many to Himself, first and foremost the parents of those who were killed. Praying and believing that!!”

…Your words of thanks this week. I just wanted to share that my beloved sister, who walked away from the Lord in college, has been pretty broken for awhile but Sandy Hook brought her to the breaking point. To her knees. She asked to come to church with me yesterday and by the end of service, she was raising her hands in worship once again. It is not the circumstances I would have ever hoped for to bring this miracle….but, truly, God will and IS using this tragedy to bring many to Himself.

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April December 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I stubbled upon your latest blog entry. I found myself after reading it, going and searching for what you must have said on 12/14. Here it is. I notice that coincident or not, you made 26 entries that 12th month of 2012…the same number of people that parished. I have now subscribed and read more of your blog entries…I envy you for the unbelievable faith that you have in God. My children went to school in Newtown last year…4 hours of lockdown…all three of them in the same school…not Sandy Hook, but just a few short miles down the road. I now live in Colorado…we moved our family out here in August. Needing a little “time out” from life. Time to reconnect…with eachother as a family, as husband and wife, everything. I have to say I was not a church goer for the last few years, but have attended weekly mass since Ive been here. I want to have that faith in God in my life. You seem to see everything so clearly…your absolute faith and trust in Him. Thank you for this blog and your thoughtful words! Have a Merry Christmas!

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