If you don't know this about me, you should: I'm a word nerd. I love interesting words and enjoy incorporating them into my everyday vernacular. This past week, I used one I haven't used in a while: ARREARS. It means being in a state of being behind or late, especially in the fulfillment of a duty, promise, or obligation. Basically it's an unpaid and overdue debt.
I had occasion to use this word when I made a phone call to Starbucks' partner resources department. I thought I was in arrears for the deductible portion of the health insurance I carry for my family. I've cut back my hours since June and I was concerned my debt was going to come due and I wanted to be prepared.
As my husband and I get on a plane today to head to snowy Chicago for Thanksgiving, I feel as though I'm in arrears in another category: eucharisteo. This Greek word means seeing something as grace and giving thanks for it.
It's hard to do that right now.
When I checked my Google news feed today, the top five stories all involved death. Not just people dying, but individuals being murdered. It feels like mayhem is beginning to abound, like darkness was loosed after the trifecta of terror last Friday. Now pain and sorrow seem to be everywhere I turn.
This afternoon when I texted a friend who's on the road to visit family, she shared her heart and what's grieving the hearts of friends she knows. I learned about a granddaughter whose heartbeat can't be heard in her mama's womb any more, and a college-aged niece who died in her sleep. More seemingly unnecessary grief.
That's when I realized where I needed to turn.
The Word. I had to remind myself that God wants to hear my words--not only my grief and anxiety and frustration and disbelief--but especially what I'm thankful for.
He doesn't deny this is going to be hard.
He who sacrifices thank offerings to Me honors Me and makes it possible for Me to show him that I am the God Who saves. Psalm 50:23
When I sacrifice my inclination to wring my hands, embrace anxiety, or pull my hair out in frustration and offer thanks instead, I put myself in a position to let God show me how He will save what looks lost beyond repair.
And that's the reality. This world was lost beyond repair the minute Adam and Eve bit that apple. The entire human race is in arrears with God. How do we repay that kind of debt?
I don't. You can't.
That's why God is the only One Who saves. He's the only One Who can clear our account so that we're not in arrears with the God Who made us. So He did that when He, God, inhabited flesh. Emmanuel means God with us.
I think I can begin being thankful for that.
Thank You, God, that You have not left us alone in this world. Even though I do not understand the depravity that exists within us that would allow us to be deceived to the point of immense evil and untold cruelty and inexplicable grief, and even though I do not understand why You do not intervene to keep such tragedies from invading our lives, I can see it as grace that You didn't leave us to our deviant devices and thank You for coming to save us from ourselves.
What is your hard eucharisteo today?