Praise (6x6 Meme)

Give thanks to the Lord
For He is good
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord
Yes, it's my bound duty. It's my obligation. It's what the created does to the creator. I have learned, in these vast and long and pain filled 9 months to give thanks in all circumstances. And it is not always hard. It is not hard to see His great mercy, His loving kindness and give thanks.

For His love endures forever
"What is man that you are mindful of him. The son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:4.
Yes, long before I was in this world, God was. Long after I leave it, He will still be here. He is larger than I am. He is mindful of me.

Oh, yes. I missed one.
For He is good.

My mind was racing, my heart was breaking, tears and sobbing through the music - I missed my Gabriel particularly on Sunday. There were oh so many children, and I missed my son.

I was thinking of the nature of gratitude and joy. The Assistant Parish Priest sat in front of me. Except that she's not the parish priest, she's on parental leave for the next 32 weeks. And the twins were sitting in front of me too. Sweet, wonderful (and totally overwhelmed!) little boys. Which got me thinking about how God changes, in response to our situations. Or, perhaps more accurately, how we may change our view of God, in response to the situation.

I thought of the joy of heaven. And I thought of immense joy I have known. Joy that made me understand the notion of Luke 6 - when it talks about abundance - measures pressed down and still spilling out. And I thought about sorrow - the feeling that all joy had been taken from the world. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. (Psalm 6:8) And I thought of how we are not good at mingling joy and sorrow.

We are a backwards, slow thinking people. Or at least I am. Perhaps all of you are more with it. I can only hold one idea of God in my mind, at one time. Either He is kind and merciful and loving and gracious, or He is wild and unpredictable and cunning, or He is judging and stern and distant and perfect.

Shortly after Gabriel's death, I started re-reading the Old Testament. In the midst of being lost and broken - life in the foxhole - I decided to pick up the pieces of my life, at the beginning. Which really is a dreadful place to begin reading about God. Let me tell you: the not dirty - but uncomfortable - secret of Christianity. The God of the Old Testament, He appears vastly unpredictable. Wildly irrational. He seems absolutely arbitrary. He is a level of arbitrary that would make the world's dictators blush. He makes no sense. None. Even knowing how the story of the Old Testament will "end", so to speak, I still can't make heads or tails of this God. Intervening sometimes, seeming to hide His face others. He's certainly not a God that I am comfortable with. This OT Jehovah, this Yaweh, who says his name is "I AM", I am not ok with Him. He's not cozy. I'm not quite sure how He works.

Now, the wise among you will notice that there is still a sentence outstanding. For He is good. For my faith to be true, for it to be real, for it to have survived, I must be able to say this: In all things, in spite of all things, all seeming evidence to the contrary, I must be able to hold up my head, and proclaim that God is still good. Which seems a hard thing, in light of the whole dead baby thing.

I am learning this. That God is not good. Or, perhaps more accurately, God is not merely good. He is God. And that means that His actions, His ways, His thoughts, they are not the same as mine. And He is not comfortable. He's wild and unpredictable. The Old Testament, with a God who is distant, withdrawn, arbitrary, He is different than the God of the New Testament. Jehovah is the same Abba, even if I perceive him differently.

My faith is wider, deeper, broader. It has known joy, and it has know sorrow, and it has known them in the same moments. The Lord of joy and the Lord of sorrow, the Lord of dance, the Lord of the dirge, the Lord I thanked for my pregnancy, the Lord I baptised my son to, the Lord I asked to acknowledge a sheep of his own flock, a sinner of His own redeeming at my son's funeral. The Lord who heard the agony filled whimpers calling out that it hurts, He is the same Lord. I just never knew him in all those faces. I never knew he could look so many ways.

I can say that God is good. But it seems paltry and small to leave it at that.