God? Something wonderful happened in my life this week. Thank you!!! I’ve been praying for this even before I had words to put around it, back when it was a wandering longing in my soul. What you did, holy one, was a deeper answer to my prayers than I have let myself hope for. You amaze me sometimes. So many times.
But God (you knew there was a “but” didn’t you dear one?) I don’t understand why! Why? As a kid I thought that if I was kind enough, good enough, you would give me these wonderful things and keep the shitty things far away. That link has been severed for me now God.
I’ve walked with too many deeply good people as they suffer to think that the wonderful stuff is reward and the shitty stuff is punishment.
But today I’m grateful. So grateful God. Can you show me another way to practice gratitude, holy one? A way that remembers that you “make the sun rise on bad and good alike; your rain falls on the just and the unjust”? It’s so easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking I’m somehow entitled to the wonderful stuff.
And actually, there’s something more squirming to the surface today God. Privilege. That I experience many wonderful things isn’t chance, it’s privilege. So many of these privileges were bestowed on me the moment I was born. The privilege to be born in a country free from war and natural disaster. The privilege of having a skin colour that isn’t a barrier in my context. And the privilege that is at the top of my mind today, the privilege of having been born into a loving and stable family that could afford to send me to camp, soccer practice, higher education.
When it comes to privilege, I could go on and on God. It’s not that I’ve never worked hard or anything like that, it’s just that these privileges I was born with gave me a huge head start in life. Privilege so often leads to more privilege.
God, thank you for my privilege
Can I say that? It seems really strange to say. Grandpa Witmer likes to say “to whom much has been given, much will be required.” I know Jesus said that, but I used to think Grandpa made it up. He lived that. They both did.
Is that the way to say thank you for my privilege God? To use it for good? To do more than I could do without it? Something inside of me feels like it’s even more complicated than that. I can’t undo the privilege I was born with, but I think I can I work to share that privilege and the power that comes with it. That’s what Jesus was up to when he broke the rules about who he should talk to, and eat with, and touch, wasn’t he God? He recognized his privilege. He shared it.
God? I know some terrible things will happen in my life that knock the hope right out of me. Some of those terrible things will happen because of bad choices I make. Most of them will just happen. No matter how good I am. No matter how hard I pray. And you’ll be right there grieving with me, even when it’s hard to feel your presence.
Today though, my heart overflows with gratitude. I may never understand why the wonderful and the terrible things happen, but today, in this moment, thank you God!
My soul proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you, my saviour. For you have looked with favour upon your lowly servant and from this day forward all generations will call me blessed. For you, the Almighty have done great things for me, and holy is your Name. Your mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear you. You have shown strength with your arm; you have scattered the proud in their conceit; you have deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. You have filled the hungry with good things, while you have sent the rich away empty. You have come to the aid of Israel your servant, mindful of your mercy -the promise you made to our ancestors- to Sarah and Abraham and their descendants forever.
Luke 1:46-55 (The Inclusive Bible)
How about exchanging “privileged” with “beneficiary”, since everything we receive has been at the cost of someone or something! “Privilege” is what the rebellion in the world is about, isn’t it?