Thanking God

Today, being the fourth anniversary of the heinous attacks of 9/11/01, one may hear all sorts of sentimentality, see the tears of the families and friends of those lost that day. This is not to minimize their pain, which is all too real. And it certainly is not to wish for more of the same, but I’d like to see God’s love in our losses.

We are trained to seek God’s blessings on all that we receive, and to give Him thanks. As the Anglican liturgy goes, “it is right and meet” to thank Him. He is, after all, the Author of all. And that’s the point. God is the Author of our joy, just as He is the author of our sorrow.

Let me ask a question: if you believe in an all-powerful, and all-seing God, why does He allow terrorist attacks on our soil? Why, for that matter, did He send Katrina comin’ to call on New Orleans? The answer is that God’s love isn’t all comfort and joy. His love includes the cross that we bear with God incarnate, Jesus Christ. From Mark 8:34-35:

34…If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

It is that simple. And we should thank God in our distress, in our brokenness, for caring enough to refine us through the fire. No, this does not mean that we simply sit back and suffer, or remain passive to the plight of our fellow human beings when they suffer. Jesus would not do, nor countenance this. Neither should we.

But we must also imitate our Lord, as best we can, and thank God no matter what comes our way. That His will, not our own, may be done.

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