Serene if not sleepy, steering eastward, I watch a platter-size sun first divided by rolling horizon, then barred between banks of land and cloud, and finally disappearing behind the cumulus it backlights with coral and surrounds with radiating silver bands. I did not create color, light, or the ability to perceive either. The sun is unaffected by my being. Land nor sky, tree nor cloud, are beholden to me. I do not own and will not maintain the road on which the truck I did not build powered by fuel I did not refine carries a body I have not designed and a soul I do not understand, much less animate. Every element: gift.
When believers think God is leading them into temptation or sin, that he has turned against them, James tells them instead: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” Every goodness we experience is evidence that because God never changes, he treasures us now just as he did in the moment of creation: above all else.
We are as deeply surrounded by our Father’s good gifts as Jonah was by the good despair waking his repentance. “For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. …But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you….”
We are able to take God’s goodness for granted—to ignore the flood of grace in which we drown—precisely because he is so faithful to provide it. We are able to give him thanks in everything for exactly the same reason.
This week, may incessant thanks emanate from our soul to the highest boundary of creation, the lowest threshold of his throne, and may he condescend to receive it.