Thank you for the small things

There is some stuff on my mind right now, big things for me.  I started talking to God about one of them this morning.  Almost immediately a verse from a song and a bible verse came to mind.  The verse of the song was from “Thank You” by Jake Hamilton.

Thank you for the deserts, thank you for the trees.
Thank you for the failures and for the victories.
Thank you for the pruning that gives me room to grow.
Thank you for the seasons, where I learn to reap and sow.

and the bible verse,

God knows what you need before you even ask Him.

(Matthew 6:8)

I just sang the song in my heart and decided to try and trust that since God knew about what I needed he would somehow take care of it.

There is of course nothing wrong with talking to God about what’s on your mind but plans these worries seem to keep swamping me, and they occupy most of what I pray about.  Again nothing too bad with this, but it limits the topics of conversation which God and me can talk about.  When I realise I’ve gotten into this place again, I normally find myself sighing, throwing up my hands in despair and praying through Lord’s prayer until I’ve got my balance back.  As with my earlier post on liturgy, and the series I muddled through on the Lord’s Prayer, this prayer is just a safe place for me to start over from.  It’s what Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him how to pray.  Jesus didn’t give a weekend seminar with praise and worship, coffee breaks with big dough-nuts and good solid home cooking – He just taught a prayer which takes a couple of moments to pray and which has been in use for over two millennia.

I keep an eye on what people are reading on the blog, and whilst writing this post, an old post about thankfulness came up.  Whilst praying with a friend he had given me this advice:

I should be saying “thank you” for the small things.  The things I have already and which I am taking for granted.  In saying “thank you” for these, I start to pay attention to the good things I have been given.  This is good psychology too.  By changing my focus, looking for and focussing on the small good things, I start to see much to be thankful for.

The final encouragement my friend gave me was that I as I start to thank God for these small things, He would take care of and provide for the big things.

Thank you for the small things.

I remember that in some churches it has been preached that we should say thank you in advance for things that are yet to come.  I understand where they are coming from but at the moment this seems that we risk trying to strongarm God into giving us what we want through ‘prayer’.  I am at the point where I can just about be trusted to remember to say thank you for the things I can see in front of me.  I know that the bible says that what ever we ask for in Jesus’s name, we will receive.  I know the bible says “Knock and the door will open, ask you shall receive”.  But it also says that just as human fathers [parents] won’t give a rock when the child asks for bread, God will only give good things to us when we ask.  So I am guessing that if I ask God for a rock when I need bread, He’s not gonna give me a rock.  Even if I pray my best-est ever prayer.  “Your will be done.” trumps it all.

Myself and some others prayed actually pretty hard for me to get a job which pretty much had my name on it.  As far as I could see, it was a natural step up from where I am now and God knows, we could do with the extra cash as much as I need a change in my job.  But I didn’t get the job.  Dunno why, other than “the guy with more experience” got the job.  Again.  But .. “thanks God for the experience.  I learned where my strengths lie and where I have still room for growth.”.

Thank you for the small things.

All the same, it often feels heart breaking; to be on a dog walk and be practising this “being thankful for the small things” thing.  In one hand I’ve got a few huge boulders of worry, and in the other hand I have what feels like only a handful of sand.  With each step I thank God for something good; my boots, that the dogs are at last walking nicely, that I am not hungry, that I have my health.  Each one something to be thankful for and each one meaningful on it’s own, but 10,000 grains cannot outweigh a boulder.   As I try to prayerfully counter-balance these boulders with only a handful of sand, they threaten to crush me while I’m not looking.

Thank you for the small things.  Yeah, right.

And that’s my problem and the paradox.  It seems that it is not the weight, but the quantity which matters.  It will take me just a moment list the names on the boulders, and then that is all I can think about, all I can see.  These damn huge boulders.  The weight of the worry almost crushes my spirit.  To name all the grains of sand will take much longer and with each grain of sand named, my spirit is lifted slightly.  Not much granted, but lifted all the same.

I mentioned a song earlier on, “Thank You”.  The chorus of the song is simply this,

I want to say thank you.

I want to say thank you.

Thank you for it all.

And it’s true.  I do.  I do want to say thank you.  Thank you for it all.  But it’s so hard.  It’s hard to say “thank you” when it feels like everything is falling apart around you.  It is hard, but not impossible.  Making the decision to say thank you for the small things, when all you have are small things to say thank you for, that’s the thing.

So, one last time.

God, Thank you for the small things.



What thoughts came to you after reading this?

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