Love says thank you 1,000 times (631-641)

by Craig on November 7, 2011

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Yeah…like that…

that’s what this thankful list was like today.

I sat in the predawn and nothing came. All I could think was, “I knew this day would come, the day I’d reach for thank you’s and none would be there.”

So I prayed…

The clock moves from 4 AM to 4:15…

frustration mounts…

Then 4:30 becomes 5 and there’s still nothing.

Why does time keep moving?!

And then the guilt enters…
and extra guilt because I tell God…
not ask him – but tell him…
“Where are you!”

As if it was His job to write my list – and he’s failing.

And my mind drifts to how the whole universe is slowing down and will eventually grow cold, and die.

source

And I think to myself, “That’s cheery.”  But then I consider how I’m different from the universe. And this Bible verse pops in…totally uninvited…

All you who kindle flames
and set flares alight,
Walk by the light of your own fire
and by the flares you have burnt!
This is your fate from my hand:
you shall lie down in a place of torment. (IS 50:11)

I think, “Yup…torment.”

But then something clicks – after two hours of nothing…

just at sunrise…

the first thank you’s to God dawn upon me.

#631… that when I run out of my light…I have Your light

#632… that You work behind the scenes when nothing seems to be moving – and you still move things.

#633… that You are always creating, You always have a plan.

And I think of how it’s said, “God is a crutch for the weak”…
and I think of these lyrics to a song I have always hearted by this adorable (and still single I think) little Jewish girl…

“You say…

I talk so all the time…

So!”

soooooo….

Thank you God…

 

#634… that You are a crutch for when I can’t stand.

#635... So!

#636… that everybody has a crutch…everybody leans on something to stand…but we get to lean on the One who is everything.

And I look to my “crutch” made of pages, and there’s this guy who complains…

“I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” (JN 5:7-8)

And I wonder how long he’d been healed before Jesus said “walk” – leaning so hard on his crutch of excuses. I wonder if maybe Jesus had healed him a day or so earlier and not told him. He didn’t know he was healed because he didn’t even try to move. Then I notice the man didn’t even ask to be healed at all.

Thank You

#637… that You don’t wait until I ask to help. But that you are helping, and I shouldn’t give up – because You haven’t given up.

#638… that You are active for me when I can’t see it, when I can’t feel it.

#639… that Your love, Your help, Your existence doesn’t depend on me.

#640… that I have you to lean on instead of excuses.

And I think, “Look. You did it again.”

#641… for all the times I’ve been able to say, “Look, You did it again.”

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim November 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

Thank God for #639! Love this, Craig. And I think God loves how you stuck with it and didn’t give up. Telling him (instead of asking) is WAY better than not talking at all!

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

oh, me too. Kim – if his power in my life depended upon my ability to be a conductor of it – I’d be like that little fritzy lightbulb that goes on and off. And there’s something about a deadline – there’s something about committing to having a thank you list on Mondays – I couldn’t let it go – but I couldn’t come up with one on my own – and it took a long, long time – not because of him – but because of me – but I like what I ended up with – it’s pretty much all him. Anyway, thank you Kim – and God bless and keep you!

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GLENNA November 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

#641… for all the times I’ve been able to say, “Look, You did it again.”

Love it !!!! so I thank GOD for all the times he as did things and I so failed to stop and say
thank you …………………………………..
So thankful that we all can come together and list our thank you to GOD and in reading each list I am encouraged …..To each one of our grateful community I say thank you for your list
Glenna

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Glenna – of all the things to read on the internets – the thank you lists we get to read from each other – I heart those the most I think. And that last line – it’s amazing how many times we can say that – and still doubt the next time. Oh me of little faith. Thank you Glenna, and God bless and keep you.

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Melissa November 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

Love it. Thanks for sharing this!

Lately I’ve been in a place where I can’t see or feel Him, and I have to lean on what I know. I can’t say it’s easy to do, but I am very grateful for the confidence that He is there and holding me up!

Your #632 reminded me of “Moving All the While” by Sidewalk Prophets. You can read the lyrics ( http://www.sidewalkprophets.com/discography/album/these-simple-truths/moving-all-while ) or see an unofficial video ( http://youtu.be/e9U4ISSI7c4 ). It’s awesome to know that, even when we can’t see the purpose for our pain or why God doesn’t seem to be helping us, He is at work for a good purpose.

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Craig November 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

first of all, Melissa, I’m really sorry that I’m replying to your comment so late – you got caught in my spam blocker – and I didn’t rescue you until today. Sorry! And that place that you’ve been in lately – oh, how I know it – when it feels like your prayers are just hitting the ceiling – and it kind of makes you feel not like praying. And he never lets go. Does he – he just never lets go. And Amen my friend – to know what you said – it stirs my heart – it helps my faith –”awesome to know that, even when we can’t see the purpose for our pain or why God doesn’t seem to be helping us, He is at work for a good purpose.” in – God bless you Melissa. And it’s practically a week later – are you still in that place?

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Melissa November 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Well, that explains why I’ve felt as though I was trapped in a can of processed meat. Thanks for rescuing me. 😉

I’ve been in this place for most of the last six months, and it’s a real challenge. As I mentioned in my first comment, this is where I have to lean on the truth I know. If I didn’t know better, this would feel like trying to sustain a relationship with someone who is utterly uninterested. I’m so, so thankful for the sisters and brothers in Christ who have prayed with me, prayed for me, and never let me forget!

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Craig November 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Well now you can add one more to the list. I’ve prayed – I know of the desert times if there is ever anything specific that might help let me know – but you definitely have what any Christian brother or sister could give you from any distance. You have my prayers. And I’ll try to keep you out of the processed meat – that might help too! God bless you Melissa – hang on!

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Melissa November 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Thank you, Craig. I appreciate your prayers and your encouragement!

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misty November 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

yes yes yes.
to use your words: i heart this post.
truly, tho… he not only heard your silence, he gave you the tools to see him again. isn’t that mercy?
MERCY
oh, how he loves us.

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

first of all, you KNOW that I adore that you used heart as a verb – that never fails to make me smile. So thank you for that. And Amen – he looked at me – he saw how important it was – he heard me ask for help – although he also knew before it happened – and in just the right timing – and just the right way – with all the other stuff in the universe to concern himself with – and with just the right tools – he helped. Amen – oh, how he does love us! Thank you Misty, God bless you!

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Christina November 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

I love that! He didn’t even ask to be healed and Jesus healed him. He knows what we need even when we don’t. Even when we don’t feel like He’s present and when He seems inactive, He’s still at work. Also, good to know you get writer’s block like the rest of us:)

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I KNOW!!!! that was kind of a shocker. I really get the idea that this guy had just relied on his excuses for so long that he just stopped trying – we can’t do that. And I think about all the ways that He helps me – and I don’t even know he did it – because I never asked – but he helped. Anyway. And lastly, I’m so happy that my writer’s block made you smile – that’s what I’m here for. (ˆ◡ˆ) God bless and keep you Christina.

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Kelly November 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

He is always at work, even when we don’t notice. How grateful I am that you kept looking! He always shows up- is never late. I hate driving in the city, and constantly beg Him to help me- and the other, all I could say is- You’re doing it- You’re really helping me! praise Him!

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I had to get something up. Kelly, there was a deadline – and God – knowing all things – knew I would ask – and when I would ask – but it really is amazing how often he helps us when we don’t ask. but let’s be honest – I also had time to keep looking – I don’t have all of your little ones – and I didn’t have your mission. Still, it’s good that I kept looking – because if I had quit – I wouldn’t of had what I ended up with – but I think we’ll give all of the credit where it’s due – to the God of us both – of us all. God bless and keep you Kelly!

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Carrie November 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

Awesome. Inspiring. Encouraging. For someone who initially didn’t have a list, yours blew me away! Thank you, Craig!

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Carrie, I should do the easy and practical thing – I should keep my list as I go through the week – but I don’t – I like sitting, and praying, and thinking, in the hours before dawn – and the lists always come – this one almost didn’t – and it was a gift. I really think it was a gift. I’m thankful for it. And I’m thankful you read it – and left your comment. God bless and keep you Carrie.

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Kara November 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

Craig,

I’m so glad you waited out the dark and the silence this morning.
And in the words of my fellow West-Coasters, “Dude! This is deeply good…. Dude!”:

And I wonder how long he’d been healed before Jesus said “walk” – leaning so hard on his crutch of excuses. I wonder if maybe Jesus had healed him a day or so earlier and not told him. He didn’t know he was healed because he didn’t even try to move. Then I notice the man didn’t even ask to be healed at all.

So now you have me thinking about that too, my friend. How long had he been healed before….. he walked? “Leaning on his crutch of excuses”. Ouch. Hmmm. That’s always been there, and I didn’t see it before. But that’s why you write and why I visit.
Thank you, brother.

Kara

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

thank YOU Dude!

and really – as many times as I’ve read that – and heard it – I never noticed it either. And he didn’t even ask! Maybe he really liked his complaining – maybe he really liked people feeling sorry for hum. Maybe he just gave up. And thank you for your kind words Tara – they mean the world. God bless and keep you!

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thefisherlady November 7, 2011 at 11:31 am

you did it… just like He says…
Be still and know that I am God <3
He never changes… always there
Thanks for sharing Craig.

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

somehow, Susan, I don’t think God was surprised that I would need his help this morning – he never is surprised – and he never changes – and he’s always there – Amen. And thank you. And God bless you as always.

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Rie November 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I love it when you make me think. What a beautiful list that is. I think I need to pray for something for you – not even reading between the lines. I will pray. I’ve been away too long.

Rest, Craig.

Rie

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

thank you Rie – I was stretched a little further on this one than I’m comfortable with – so I’m glad it worked out okay (ˆ◡ˆ) – and after I wrote this one – I had to write the other post for the other blog – the excitement didn’t stop when I hit publish. And thank you for your prayer. And you were missed Rie – and yes I do need rest – it still seems like it’s not going to come – it is what it is – it’s my thorn – it makes me weaker – it makes me stronger. Anyway, God bless you Rie.

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Dawn November 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Dear Craig,

So many weeks I just sit in front of my writing space and stare. I remember Ann being asked by those beginning their lists if they could repeat themselves and she’d shrug her shoulders, look down a bit and peak up from under her hair and say (excitedlly), “Yes, yes, of course, if you are truly thankful for that particular thing, name it again and again.”

Today the thank you’s just flowed through my fingertips. Danelle tells me that is when she knows God is writing the post. If so, God wrote my post today. I think being in the stillness of nothingness is important, though. There are times He comes after much waiting. Sometimes we must become reacquainted with Him (Be still and KNOW…) before the thanksgiving flows. Sometimes we are dry for lack of intimacy and He needs time to draw us close.

Praying for rain,
Dawn

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Craig November 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Dawn – trust me in the hours it was taking for this revelation to come – I was ready to go back and copy and paste. But I just didn’t want to – and I just kept sitting, and thinking, and talking to him. I almost gave up – because being late for this post – also met being late for Deep Into Scripture – and then everything else that needs done. the old snowballing effect.

But now that I know I have Ann’s permission – maybe I’ll reconsider – but then – just because I’m thankful for it – doesn’t mean that people need to be exposed to the same thing again and again – so I think I won’t do it – I’ll just suffer – hmmmmmm – maybe I like suffering? ツ

and isn’t that interesting – your post just flowed – and that’s how you know God wrote it – and my post was like holding on tight to a cactus – and THAT”S how I know God wrote IT. How he works on all of us in different ways. I just need to keep remembering, more of him, less of me. Thank you Dawn, and God bless you as always.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks November 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Dawn,

just…thank you so very much for your words. this mama needed them today (even though you wrote them to Craig–they encouraged me).

i want to feel Him draw me close. the last post i wrote–well, was a little starchy, and i think thats a good indication i need some rain. :) but i hear you…all i have to do is sit still and listen. thank you.

blessings in His grace,

Nacole

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Karen November 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Asking HIM to write the list ~ this thought lingers for thought!
Vision becomes “ours” instead of “His”.
Constantly grasping for “HIS vision”… Karen

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Craig November 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

Karen, I barely ever write a thank you list without talking to him as I write it. I need someone to help me with my thoughts – since I don’t jot these things down as I go through the week. So I sit every Monday before dawn and contemplate, and pray, and we always kind of write it together. Except this time I had nothing – and he – as always – had everything. I don’t know why am surprised – although I question his use of so much drama! ツ not really. God bless and keep you Karen, and thank you.

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Sylvia November 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I hope I was supposed to laugh, reading this, because I sure did! Right from the illustration and words at the beginning, and on… I was just identifying so much. I had a terrible time with my post today. However, it seemed to write itself fast and easy at first. Then I went back, after I’d posted, and yow! it was gastly! I kept trying to doctor it, even discarded it at one point. Then tried to substitute something so the links could work. Ohhh. Well, it’s sorta okay I guess now. But. What starts out hard often gets this wonderful breakthrough by His grace. And what seems to happen so easily… sometimes, well, maybe it was too easy, as in careless, sloppy, thrown-together mess? God bless you for sticking with it – before you had unlinking links and all!

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Craig November 8, 2011 at 11:22 am

Sylvia, this list was kind of like catching a tiger by the tail – I couldn’t let go of it – no matter how much scratching and clawing the tiger did. You’ve got me curious, of course – so I’m off to read your list – after all this buildup – it better be good! ツ God bless and keep you.

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Mari November 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

What a list! I think its the most touching “thank you’s” of yours I’ve read. I love that Lisa Loeb song and I say it with you: So? Crutches are for the crippled and I am that for sure! Thank you as always for your transparency in the words you share…and for not “cutting and pasting” your thank yous. May this week flow with moments that cause you to be grateful =)

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Craig November 8, 2011 at 11:32 am

thank you Mari – I haven’t written one like this – and I don’t think I’ll write another – and it was kind of a little unfolding miracle – and God gets all of the credit – I take none. He’s good that way. And I’m glad that your crutches are the same. And thank you for encouraging me not to cut and paste – everybody deserves fresh bread. And thank you for your wish for my week – I need to be grateful – not grumbly. God bless and keep you Mari!!

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Tina November 8, 2011 at 6:32 am

Here’s my favorite this week ~ that You work behind the scenes when nothing seems to be moving – and you still move things. Amazing that He does these things for us and works for us – always!

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Craig November 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

doesn’t it make you wonder, Tina, how much behind the scenes work our Lord does. He has to do a ton of it. So much stuff we don’t see – so many angels flying by – and we can only see so much. It is amazing – it really is. Thank you for making me thank HIM again for that one. God bless and keep you my friend.

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Lisa Maria November 8, 2011 at 6:48 am

Craig.. you’ve set my thinking wheels turning with this one. It was like a lightbulb going off when I read that part about the cripple who was healed ‘without even asking’. You know the minute I read it I realized that that is exactly how God has worked in my own life. How many times I never even asked… it was just a longing, a thought, a breath, a sigh.. and He provided it nonetheless! We could never really run out of things to be grateful for… even though the old brain sometimes seems to seize up and nothing coherent wants to flow from heart to mind to fingers. I really like how you overcame your ‘block’. He’s always just there, isn’t he? Waiting for us to acknowledge His presence and simply ask Him for help. Congrats on a really thought-provoking and heart tugging post.

God bless!

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Craig November 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

I KNOW!!!! that one really got me to – so many surprises in the Bible that we miss – and we can miss them for years and years. This one was an eye-opener. I read one of the older theologians – first or second century – and he said there was never a need to pray a prayer more complicated then, “help”. I think you’re right – we don’t even need to pray that much. And the block – the block would still be there if it weren’t for HIM. He is always there – Amen. Thank you Lisa Maria – thank you for your kind words – and God bless and keep you and all of yours.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks November 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Craig,

i really, really liked this…”that everybody has a crutch…everybody leans on something to stand…but we get to lean on the One who is everything.

And I look to my “crutch” made of pages, and there’s this guy who complains…”

i sort of think of the bible as my crutch too, and that it is. i also had a hard time lately with my posts–the last one, as i told Dawn, was starchy. even Husband said it was missing something when he read it. add together the fact that i had already written two in the same week before that one, four kids who constantly need my attention, illness, etc, well….the words just didnt come out right onto the page…oh, how i wanted them to! but this post was a first for me–blogging about Compassion and World Vision children.

i am so happy that God showed up and that you were able to write your thank you’s. you know, what that really says is that He is near, He loves you, and He speaks to you. He abides in you–how amazing is that?! Almighty God abiding in you?! this is encouraging to me. thank you, Craig!

blessings dear friend,

Nacole

http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com/2011/11/31-days-to-holistic-christ-centered.html

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Craig November 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I won’t believe it until I see it – and right after I reply to you here. I’ll be headed over – I just don’t believe that it’s possible for you to write “starchy” – no way! And isn’t it nice – we can be family – across the miles – bound together by faith in our God – I’m finding that to be more, and more, and more amazing. God bless you my friend – now I’m off to see this “starch” you’re speaking ofツ

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Nacole@sixinthesticks November 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm

lol! oh, Craig, thank you so much for your support. and yes, it is so wonderful to be family over all these miles. i didnt mean to confuse you–the post URL i left above in my comment wasnt the post i was talking about. to see the one i was talking about, go to your Walk With Him Wednesday post (Laska’s post) and look at my comment there. i left two URL’s that were a series to the first post i wrote (What Does My Faith Rest Upon?–i think you read that one). the last in this series–my most recent post on my blog is the “starchy” one i was talking about! sorry for the confusion. maybe you will see what i mean when you read?

i thoroughly enjoyed your comment on my blog–they always make me smile! thank you for visiting over there. and i agree–that Lorna favors me a little–thank you.

blessings, friend,

Nacole

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Nacole@sixinthesticks November 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm

and i had to add–that i heart Lisa Loeb, and stay (i missed you) was my favorite of her’s.

and i think of you as a sort of big brother–all of us apart of God’s family!

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Craig November 13, 2011 at 9:17 am

I hearted Lisa Loeb – and that was really the only song of hers I knew – but you know it’s a classic cause everybody still hearts it. And if you see Lisa – send her my way – she’s still single – and I know I could bring her around to Christianity – then – who knows? ツ

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Kristin November 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm

For someone who couldn’t come up with a list, you did marvelous! I think this was one of your best ones yet! I think maybe because you stayed with it, you stayed with him through those early morning hours and He met you there. He honored your time with Him. I can just see the intimacy between you two and it gives me chillbumps! I heart your heart and your spirit and your love for Him. Again, your post has made me stop and ponder and that is a good thing. Thank you! :)
I’m speaking at my church tonight on Ann’s Book 1000 gifts. This is way out of my comfort zone and yet I said “Yes”. Please pray for me 😉

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Craig November 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm

just a quick note – it’s 5:15 central and just wanted to led you know I’ve just prayed for your speaking – you KNOW you can do it. I know too!

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Craig November 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

And thank you Kristin – it was dramatic – it was down to the wire – I thought I was going to have nothing – to have a God that would bend so low – for something so insignificant – that gives ME chillbumps. God bless you my friend!

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