Words simply cannot contain the Almighty.
And yet, in some mysterious way, He meets us in our words and leads us beyond them to His love.
So then, I offer these feeble words as a possibility for a place of meeting.
“God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food.”
This could be one of the most profound prayers we ever pray.
God really is great. As the church fathers say, “God is always greater.” No matter what word or idea or image or anything I could use to describe God, He is always, always greater. We cannot contain Him. One word that seems to say, “God is greater” is the word, “Holy.” Holy explodes into all directions and cannot be limited by our simple understandings of purity. He is always, always above and beyond all that I can imagine.
And yet, God is good. The One beyond all ones is really good. While I never grasp the extent of His greatness (not even in eternity), I can rest in His goodness. He really, really is good. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:19).
So then, “Let us thank him for our food.” The only response I can have to the greatness and goodness of God is thanksgiving. If we will learn to cultivate a life of thanksgiving, we will be continually surprised by the wonder of the greatness and goodness of God. Our striving for position and power and comfort and acceptance and even love is such an incredible waste of energy.
Instead of complaining that my work is drudgery, my life is too hectic, everyone else is blessed and I’m still waiting, we might simply learn to pause, to breathe and to thank God for the gift of breath.
I might even thank Him that He continued to give me breath even when I was complaining. Every moment is a gift of grace. This moment. This second can be joyously received as a gift or wasted by complaining or looking ahead (or behind) to another moment that is more exciting.