I remember as a child hearing people who would thank God for almost anything good that happened. If they remembered where they had misplaced their car keys, they would thank God. If the sun shone brightly for a planned picnic, they would thank God. If they regained their balance after stumbling over a crack in the sidewalk, they would thank God.
Such thankfulness seemed exaggerated to me. And yet there was something compelling about such a worldview: that the Creator of the universe would have such interest in personal detail. I chalked it up to being akin to God’s concern for the fallen sparrows.
But it is also tempting to disregard such understanding as an overly simplistic faith. Surely people should not expect God to be their personal caretaker or body guard. Do people really think that God would push back clouds and hold back rainfall because one family or congregation had prayed for good picnic weather?
But I have come to a new appreciation of what may seem to be inflated appreciation. If we acknowledge God as the author of life, then all that is life is reason to praise God. When the sun shines through a clear sky, it is appropriate to thank God as Creator. When my stumble is recovered because of my sense of balance, it is appropriate to thank God as the One who crafted the complexity of the human body.
If praise is expressed as gratitude for only that which impacts me individually, my faith remains rudimentary. It can remain selfish in nature. But if praise is expressed as appreciation for the overarching governance of creation then it is elevated above the limitations of personal impact.
It is in this faith that I want to grow. When I see the beauty of a sunset, I want to yell out; “Well done, God!!” Not as a statement of appreciation as though God formed this beauty only for my benefit, but that God would form a creation that manifests such natural beauty for all to enjoy.
When my memory recalls where I have misplaced something, I want to be able to say; “Thank you God.” Not as a suggestion that God interceded on my personal behalf, but that God has ordained the mind to have the ability to recall. What a benefit to all humanity!
Such a faith will have no difficulty finding things for which to express praise. Such a faith will remain active in gratitude and exude infectious appreciation. I would like to be able to keep things simple.
God is good and the author of all things good. It is natural to express worshipful gratitude. If that is a simple faith; I’ll be happy to own it.