Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful to Be Here

1991 State of Origin

Perhaps it is the spring weather and the fact that all the flowers are blooming, but the other day I was struck by how glad I am to be here. I did not choose this earth for my home. Yet God has placed me here and for that I should be thankful.

Even though life cannot exist on any other planets that we know of, imagine for a moment that one of those other planets was our home. Imagine living in a world with no grass, no trees, no flowers, no birds - a world without the abundance of plant and animal life, with little diversity and even less beauty.

Yes, I know this world is not all good. There is pain, sorrow, grief, disasters, devastation, flood, famines, droughts, injustice, oppression and terrible cruelty. Yet I believe the one of the reasons why we are appalled by such things is because we have seen their absence.

Here on earth, they are not absent for long. But there have been moments when the world really does seem beautiful, when all is right (or at least seems right) in our little corner of the world and there is more joy than sorrow. Even in a sinful world, we do catch glimpses of heaven. If this earth occasionally seems ugly, perhaps it is because we have occasionally seen how beautiful it can be.

There are other species that are also fortunate to be living here on earth. I also believe that all the other species, indeed the whole world, praises God.

Yet humans are unique. We have a special relationship to God. We have souls.

We also have a unique ability to be able to appreciate and be thankful for this world. We can never completely understand God, but we are closer in understanding God than the birds or the grass or the trees or the flowers are. We are the only species in this world that can join with God at looking at his Creation and saying ‘It is good.’

And yet so often we don’t. Instead of thanking God for the world he has made, we complain about our lives. We look at what we don’t have, instead of what we do. We ask why God doesn’t step in and change things, and forget to be amazed at what He has already done.

And honestly, if God did step in and change every thing in this world that seems wrong or unfair or we don’t like, most of us probably wouldn’t thank him. We’d be too busy searching for further things that are wrong with this world. We’re like proofreaders, too busy circling punctuation errors to be swept away by the whole narrative.

Most of us at some stage have found ourselves somewhere where we really wanted to be. And in that moment, everything seems right with the world. Of course there are problems. Things go wrong, as they always will. But when you’re so happy to be somewhere, those problems are only minor irritations. We are so thankful for where we are that we sweep them aside and refused to be bothered by them.

When I was 17, I won tickets to a State of Origin rugby league game. I took my sister, who is two years younger than me. Neither one of us had been to a State of Origin game before. To say we were excited is a huge understatement. Anyway, in the middle of game, when my sister and I had huge smiles plastered across our faces, it started to rain. And I don’t mean just a sprinkling. It poured - absolutely poured. Everyone around us went running for cover. My sister and I just looked at each other and didn’t even say anything. We knew it would take more than a little bit of rain (okay, make that a lot of rain) to budge us. After the game, we had to sit for five hours in soaking wet clothes on a bus. Yet still those smiles never left our faces. Why would they? We had just had the time of our lives.

Imagine if we treated this earth like that. Imagine if we thought of it as a place where we were really thankful to be. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to face problems. It doesn’t even mean that we wouldn’t be bothered by things, sometimes even overcome by grief and sorrow. But perhaps it would give us a different perspective. Perhaps we might even learn to smile, and be thankful, through the rain.     


  1. Wow, I hope this post inspires others as it has me-thank you for reminding me about the importance of our relationship with our home planet; some days I just love to sit and marvel at the wonder of our planetary home.

  2. Hi Raven,

    Thanks for commenting. I think one of the most relaxing things to do is just sit and marvel at nature. It helps you forget your worries and puts things into perspective.




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