I realized recently that I never have resolved a few questions I have on the topic of prayer. The one that’s most pressing these days is the unease I feel about thanking God for the good things in my life. Since this is somewhat related to the discussion we had in the last post, I thought this would be a good time to bring it up.
I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for how great my life is. Yet, when I go to thank God, I feel uncomfortable about thanking him for specific things like my children, the good health of our family, my great husband, our luxurious (compared to most other times and places) middle-class American life, etc.
If I approach it as if I’m thanking God in a passive sense, that these things are good and all goodness comes from God, that makes the most sense intellectually (e.g. “Thank you God for being the source of all that is good…”). But I feel like perhaps I should be thanking him for his direct action in giving these things to me (e.g. “Thank you God for giving me my healthy children, my great husband, that random, unexpected check we just got in the mail…”).
The former option seems to imply that God is just some impersonal force. Yet the latter makes me feel uncomfortable and rather bold to assume that God actively chose to give me these things, since it seems to assume that he actively chose *not* to help out people who do not have healthy children, good health, a great spouse, etc.
I know that this touches on the issue of suffering and “Why do bad things happen to good people?”, which is a huge box of worms to open. To narrow it down, what I’m specifically trying to understand is this: when I am giving thanks for the wonderful things in my life, am I to assume that God consciously chose that I, Jen, should receive these things? Or should I thank God for good things in the abstract while assuming, as I do with certain types of suffering, that it is not God’s work directly but the result of the randomness in our world that comes with humans having free will?
I know I’m missing something here, I’m just not sure what it is. That’s where you guys come in. 🙂
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