1. I have done nothing to deserve God’s love and constant care and yet God has somehow decided to give me a glimpse of how greatly I am blessed. Most of the time – 99% of the time would be more accurate – I am either oblivious or only tangentially aware of God’s stupendous graces in my life. For that, I am truly sorry. But here, today, I acknowledge my thanks and praise to my Abba, to my dear good friend Jesus and to the wondrous Spirit.
2. I learned to believe not by any preaching from my parents or teachers but because of their lived faith. I will never forget bursting into the kitchen as a seven or eight year-old. My mother was in the midst of baking a cake – there were flour, eggs and sugar on the kitchen table. In the midst of it all, she was on her knees in prayer. You don’t forget things like that.
3. There have been challenges and “thin places” in my life, but I have always known that God guards me “in the palm of His hand.” Praise God.
4. I survived growing up with the faith-toxic environment of Northern Ireland in the partisan strife of the late 1960s and 1970s. One of the era’s hymns, “And you’ll know they are Christians by their love, by their love,” was made mockery of on a daily basis. I rejoice that I didn’t tune out the Gospel and choose something more “reasonable.”
5. Faith keeps me alive to all that is wonderful, good and generous in our wounded world. I am an optimist only because I believe that God is working mightily for the good. As J.D. Salinger has one of his characters say, “Sometimes I think God is plotting to make me happy.”
If you are a person of faith, what makes you grateful that you believe?