Gratitude Day 323

Wed., Sept. 11, 2019

Romans 8:26:  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Eighteen years ago today, life changed. For some, it stood still. For others, it was clouds of disbelief. We felt anger, sadness and grief. Our emotions could not keep up with the quickly changing world around us.

Normal life changed. Today’s normal is not the same as 9.10.01 normal. Now, we are aware of different things, live by enhanced laws and no longer question if something can happen here in the United States. Because it already has.

It was a terrible day. An awful day. A day that seemed to never end. One day seemed to stretch into a continuous day that soon became days and then a week. We were awed by the stories, the bravery and the sacrifice. Some people were motivated to make decisions they might not have otherwise made. We discovered that life can be very short and every day truly is a present.

Yet in the midst of all the yucky, some amazing things happened. We hugged a little tighter. We checked in with others out of pure concern. We expressed our faith and were not afraid to pray: out loud, in public and with others. We tried to make sense of the evil, only to discover there are times when there simply are no answers.

Some blamed God. Some blamed God for not stopping the awful. Some blamed God for allowing such awful things to happen. People yearned for God to speak, to say something, to help us hear the right voice. And when it appeared that God was not speaking, it seemingly became more challenging to defend our God.

And then, I discovered this one verse tucked quietly away in Romans 8. A verse that I had probably read countless times … but never really embodied. But this time, post 9.11, the words became my mantra. When I do not have words to speak or words to pray, it’s really OK. In these moments, the Spirit steps in and groans with me. For me. On behalf of me. My need for words is put on hold. I only need to sit at Jesus’ feet and pray for strength.

Wow. What a gift.

What a generous and wise God I serve. I don’t always have to have words. When my words run out, I still have an Advocate, the One who intervenes for me. This Spirit knows my thoughts, my feelings and my emotions. This Spirit

I pray we remember today. We honor those whose lives were cut short. May our prayers for those who survived and those whose families are missing a loved one continue today and days forward. Don’t worry whether or not you have exactly the right words. For if you don’t, the Spirit will step in and groan with you.

What a gracious God we have. Thanks be to God.

For a gracious God who always knows where we are spiritually, I am grateful.  

Dear God – Surround those who struggle with today. Be with those who can’t quite make sense of what happened 18 years ago. Help us hug a little tighter today, contact someone we haven’t been in touch with for awhile and not be afraid to pray. Amen.

Blessings –


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godGratitude Day 145 – Who

Tues., Oct. 30, 2018

John 15:12 – (Jesus said,) “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.”

It’s been a tough several days in the United States. So much hurt, disappointment and acts that don’t make sense. It’s difficult to image this country where everyone yearns to live and yet, people are killed while worshipping God. Each day seems to bring forth another tragedy for yet another community and a whole series of families.

It would be so easy to give up on faith, religion and God. But I am not.

Here’s why.

It is so easy to assume God “decides” that awful things should happen to people. I have a different viewpoint. Evil exists in this world. Sometimes, it runs full-throttle. Blaming God for every awful thing in this world is not helpful. Evil chooses to regularly rear its ugly head. Rather than naming evil as the culprit of everything bad in this world, it’s so much easier to blame God. In this sense, God truly gets a bad rap.

We spend so much energy and effort focusing on “Why bad things happen to good people” that we overlook the “Who will help us get through this awful time in our lives?” For me, that who is God. God promises to never leave me or never leave you. Even in the midst of difficult and challenging days.

The challenge for some people? Truly believing that God is the “Who” that can hold their hand through dark days. We often choose to focus on the “Why” to the point that we completely miss the “Who.”

I pray you don’t give up on God. I pray you look beyond today’s pain and disappointment and know God will be with you today, tomorrow and the next day. Even when God seems far away, God is right there, just waiting for you to say “Hey God, it’s me. Just checking in with you.” It really doesn’t get any more complicated than this. We often become disappointed when our prayers aren’t answered just as we wish. This doesn’t mean God has given up on you. It just means there’s potentially a different plan.


For a God who longs to be the “who” that journeys with you daily, I am grateful.


Dear God: thank you for loving me more than I can imagine. May your example of love spur us to deeply love you and others.  Amen.

Blessings –


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