Things that have Never Been (November 21, 2012)

…Opening To…

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. (Meister Eckhart)

…Listening In…

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough. (To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee)

…Filling Up…

Yesterday, we talked about thanking God for something you’ve always known and had never realized you should be thankful for because it never pinged your radar. Today, we’ll take a look at the opposite – thanking God for things that have never been. This type of gratitude is possibly even more difficult than yesterday’s because it involves stepping into other people’s shoes in order to appreciate your gifts and blessings.

When we stand in another’s shoes, we gain the capacity for perspective. Sometimes, it’s difficult to see things when you’re right up close to them and seeing them from the same angle you always do. To give thanks for something you’ve never had, you might need to view your life from that other perspective. Perhaps you’ll give thanks because diseases that have affected people all over the world for hundreds of years won’t affect you because you were inoculated as a baby. Perhaps you’ll give thanks because you’ve never known a time when your stomach was so empty for so long that you forgot how to be hungry. Perhaps you’ll give thanks because every time you slept outside in your life, you did so because you chose to – and you always had s’mores as the campfire died down.

Today, think of something you’ve never experienced, something you don’t want to experience because it is unhealthy or degrading or worse. Now thank God that this thing has never happened to you. But don’t stop there. Recognize that this thing that has never been always is happening somewhere in the world – maybe next door, or a few blocks away, or across an ocean. How can you help make that thing change from an always is to a never again?

…Praying For…

Dear God, you never abandon people when they suffer. Help me to realize the gifts you have given me, and give me the strength and the imagination to use those gifts to address the brokenness of the world. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, eager to look for your blessing in my life and eager to be a reason that others give thanks to you.

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