Feb 23, 2013

One Thousand Gifts

Ch 5

"One act of thanksgiving,
when things go wrong with us,
is worth a thousand thanks when things
are agreeable to our inclinations."
St. John of Avila
...the dare to write 1,000 gifts becomes the dare to create innumerable, endless gifts!  That initial discipline, the daily game to count, keeping counting to 1,000, it was God's necessary tool to reshape me, remake me, rename me, and now how could I stop being "Ann, full of grace"?
      Or was this now only the beginning of really becoming?
Is this going to happen to me?  I want to be remade in those areas where I know I fail my husband, my family, my Father...  I say that but am I willing to go through the hard stuff to get there?  I hope so...
Daily discipline is the door to full freedom, and the discipline to count the 1,000 gave way to the freedom of wonder and I can't imagine not staying awake to God in the moment, the joy in the now.
      But awakening to joy awakens to pain...
Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don't numb themselves to really living.
If I am numbering gift moments to 1,000 and now beyond- what moments in my life count as blessings?  If I name this moment as gift, grace, what is the next moment?  Curse?  How do you know how to sift through a day, a life, and rightly read the graces, rightly ascertain the curses? 
     What is good?  What counts as grace?  What is the heart of God?
Do I believe in a God who rouses Himself just now and then to spill a bit of benevolence on hemorrhaging humanity? 
            ...-and, then finds Himself again too important to deal with all I see as suffering and evil?  A God of sporadic, random, splattering goodness- that now and then splatters across a gratitude journal?
Somebody tell me:
                 What are all the other moments?
Isaiah 14:24  "Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand"
Amos 3:6  "Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?"
A good God plans everything.  Everything.  So a good God can only...make plans for good?  He only gives good gifts?  A thing of evil cannot be created by a good God?
This is such a hard truth.  But if I believe that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere all the time, then I believe that He knows all about the things I find "bad", the evil in this world.  And there is EVIL.
But, I don't see the big picture.  I have no clue what His ultimate plan is, except that in the end God triumphs, NO, Wait He HAS triumphed, but this world must play out the plan. 
My mind cannot comprehend God.  There is no way I can grasp His plan for me, fur this world.  But as sure as I know that someone invented, created, made, sold the paper in my journal.  Something so simple has a creator...how can there not be a creator of this drop of water?  How can there not be a creator of the oxygen molecules? 
So, if I know the paper has a creator, and a plan for how it is used, doesn't the creator of the universe have a plan?  Do I need to understand it?  Does my 2 year old need to understand why she can't go out to the mailbox by herself?  NO! She just needs to obey.  And even though I don't understand the why, I need to obey.  And I am commanded to give thanks in EVERYTHING. 
 1 Thessalonians 5:18  Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this. 
"Evil is all that lacks the goodness of God, a willful choice to turn away from the full goodness of God to that empty of His grace."  Augustine
All God makes is good.  Can it be that that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God?  That which seems evil only seems so because of the perspective: the way the eyes see the shadows.  Above the clouds, light never stops shining.
"See that I am God.  See that I am in everything.  See that I do everything.  See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally.  See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began by the same poser, wisdom and love with which I made it.  How can anything be amiss?"  Julian of Norwich
Perspective--How. We. See.
To be continued...