Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hesitating to say "thanks"

spoiler alert! - if you haven't read the previous post "Overrun", you should probably read that first to understand where this one is coming from :).

When life’s worries catch up to me, I turn to God. They may be my own worries, your worries, or the worries of the world that send me running. I become confident in a God that is “big enough”, “bigger”, the “biggest” – the only one with enough love and power to touch a situation.


When life’s blessings catch up to me, I again turn to God, offering thanks for our family’s health, home, the majesty of nature, and more.


It’s when I am caught somewhere in between that I hesitate to turn to God. Stuck somewhere in between the request for help and the blessing received, I stall out. Yes, my God is the only one I dare ask for such big things, but do I trust that his bigness can really be displayed in the answers? I rationalize that maybe his “answers” are just a coincidence, not the fingers of God at work. (Not always an incorrect assumption, maybe?) I balk because if the answer falls short, what do I do? Blame God? Discount the initial answer? Come face-to-face with my limited understanding of God’s ways? Be left speechless to those who question my faith?


I’m caught in the middle this week, as we celebrate that twins are on the way. As several friends have pointed out, and I’ve thought myself, this double helping of kids is a ridiculous and amazing answer to my laments to God. But I find that rather than exploding with joy, I’m withholding my gratitude until the blessing is complete, and they arrive healthy in the outside world. The risks are many, twins are a natural occurrence (not only divine!), and if I go on about how this is God’s great answer and then something happens…? My doubts are many, woefully holding back my thanksgiving.


As I laid awake in the middle of last night (pregnant hunger pangs!), a random story came to mind. Ten lepers cried out to Jesus to heal them. He sent them to the priest to get healed. Only one returned to say thank you, and he was a foreigner at that. Jesus wondered – “Where are the other nine? Was no one else willing to come back and give glory to God?” (Luke 17:11-19) These men had their lives radically changed – restored physically and then socially into society. Yet they too neglected to return and say “thank you”. Maybe they weren’t so sure that it was really Jesus’ power at work. Maybe they thought they’d give the miracle a few years to “stick” before they gave credit where credit was due. Maybe they just forgot and went out to tackle the next challenge of finding a job. I see myself in their shoes. I want to pause and acknowledge God instead.


God, you are big enough for me to ask things of. You are big enough to answer too, and deserve the credit when you do – and so I thank you for these two little lives. Give me faith and courage to keep returning and saying “thanks”.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joanna-
This is Danielle's friend, Rachel. She sent me your bloglink so I read it sometimes; I hope that's not too odd.
Anyway, just felt compelled to say thank YOU for your words and your faith!
And SO wonderful about the coming little ones!

Jenn said...

o my goodness jo! congrats to you and your family!
what an adventure! we will keep you in our prayers and pray that the babies are healthy and for your strength!

lots of love

joanna said...

Hi Rachel - thanks for stopping by - of course Danielle has mentioned you in all her stories about the vineyard! If any bit of my faith battles are a bright spot for you, then I guess I have one more thing to be thankful for :).

Pat Mathews said...

Jo!!!! Twins!!!! Wow. That is just crazy awesome news. I am so happy for you both.

Jess said...

as silly as it sounds i worried more during baby #3's oven time then the other two put together (and i had no reason to).

hang in there joanna and just keep lifting your heart- worries and all- to the Father. He'll take care of the rest. we'll be praying all goes well and that all stay healthy (momma especially!).

Don said...

"Hesitating to say 'thanks'" -- "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (I guessing that's how the verse goes.) I think part of faith is thanking God for what is now, and later if things change, thank Him for what is then. Rather than second-guess and worry about "what-if?" be thankful for the "what's now!" I say a vanity plate that read, "GratefulB." (The person was grateful, (thankful?).) Here's a vanity plate for the rest of us: BGr8tful." (And super-congrats!)

Don said...

A fellow blogger had a good Sunday morning post on faith... short and sweet. Things like: "Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark"
~~~~Rabindranth Tagore~~~~

Check it out at:

http://midlifeandmenapause.blogspot.com/2009/05/faith.html

sarahstew said...

Jo - thanks for being willing to share with us what God is doing - I sometimes hesitate to share things or rejoice about something because I am entertaining that "what if..?" question, too. I know that I miss out on the joy that the Lord has for me in the gift of the moment when I give in to the fears that stand ready at hand. I want you to know that we are believing God for you and that He will be "faithful to complete" this good thing that He has begun! We'll be counting the weeks with you from afar...
Sar

JERALDandLESLIE said...

your thoughts are very well said and quite understood coming from another queen of worry (and withheld gratitude to God!) thanks for the challenge!