God’s Loving Initiative

Penned by Gwen

One of the most profound acts of worship is expressing gratitude. And I have found nothing that provokes gratitude more profoundly in me than contemplating God’s loving initiative in my life.

Have you ever taken some hours to list all the times in your life when, before you could ask, God was already on the way to meet you? The drama of the home-coming of the prodigal son comes to mind in that, while he was still a long way off, the Father ran to meet him.

Most of our blessings come to us that way. We are often not aware of what we need most. By the time our perception meets awarenessthe answer has already been initiated by the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

All of nature is there, attending us in beauty, feeding us, providing oxygen.We take it as our due. Our injured body begins healing before we are aware of the extent of the damage. Those commodities are so constant and available that they seldom make it onto our gratitude lists, which most often reflect a contemplation of how our felt needs are being met: I am lonely. I need comfort. “Suddenly” a friend calls with a “how are you doing?” We are overwhelmed with work and an idea “pops into our head” for how to streamline it. Who, do we think, orchestrates these coincidences?

My most recent number one gratitude evolved when the winter seemed too long and too dark in my rental situation. The day after I had said aloud, I will be content. It is enough, a friend I had seen only a few times since I knew her 40 years ago called “out of the blue” with a proposition for a place which provides clean air, and an abundance of light AND A VIEW OF THE OCEAN. Does such an event just “happen”?

There is no end when one begins to contemplate the things for which gratitude is due. For the God we encounter in our best moments is much closer than we ever dreamed, much more involved in the nitty- gritty of our lives than we had dared hope. As a doting Father He opens the windows of heaven and pours out blessings on us beyond our wildest dreams.

Just as I was finishing this posting I became aware of the following entry on Richard Rohr’s blog:

The Jewish people have a beautiful prayer form, a kind of litany to which the response is always “Dayenu!” (“It would have been enough!) They list one by one the “mirabilia Dei”, the wonderful works of God for their people and themselves, and after each one, shout out DAYENU! As if to say, “How much is it going to take for us to know that God is with us?!” It builds satisfaction instead of feeding dissatisfaction.
Maybe we all should begin our days with a similar litany of satisfaction, abundance, and enoughness. God you have given me another day of totally gratuitous life: my health, my eyes, my ears, my mind, my taste, my family, my freedom, my education, clean water, more than enough food, a roof over my head, a warm bed and blanket, friends, sunshine, a beating heart, and your eternal love and guidance. To any one of these we must say, “And this is more than enough!”

If we begin our day with any notion of scarcity, not-enoughness, victimhood, or “I deserve”, I promise you the day will not be good–for you or for those around you. Nor will God be glorified. (Richard Rohr: Unpacking Paradoxes: Prayer to Avoid Entitlement, January 30, 2012.)

May THANK YOU, Dayenu! be ever on our lips.


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Copyright Lynda Chalmers