We spend so much time and effort achieving the illusion that we are in control; in control of our lives, our health, our children, our churches. And much of the time we actually convince ourselves, and others, that we are. This week has been for me a reminder that this is indeed a myth at best. It is the paralyzing snowstorm that freezes commuters and schools and shuts down the DMV on the only day you have to go and deal with the problem with your car title; it is the sudden illness that drives you into the ER in the middle of the night; it is the news that someone dear to you has been hospitalized after being injured in a hit and run; it is feeling immeasurably small as you stand at the edge of the Pacific.

We are, each of us, fragile, susceptible, and ultimately submissive to powers and forces we do not control. In the Black church, there is a common and beautifully simple prayer I hear repeated over and over again: “Thank you God for waking me up this morning.” I think this prayer captures the only posture we can rightly have in this life. Yet, surrounded by industries that peddle control, inundated by messages of what we can “deserve” and “choose”, we lose sight of this central truth of who we are: creatures and not gods.

Lord, teach me to live as one who truly believes that “there, but by the grace of God, go I.”

Categorized as Faith


  1. Erika,

    Amen. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned and still am learning- over the years. And I like the prayer. We indeed are very dependent (and interdependent). Thanks.

  2. I find myself wondering quite often what the world would be like if we all started the day and remained through out with a sense of gratefulness that we even woke up. So many of our insurmountable, gigantic, ovewhelming obstacles would be returned to what they are: petty, small, and insignificant – or they would disappear all together.

    We spend so much of our time trying to ‘fix’ things or ‘right’ things or bring ‘justice’ to things. I have been amazed at how many things simply vanish completely in even the realization that we are blessed to be alive – a very small and single facet to the magnitude and complexity of God’s justice and grace.

    Would that we would all live this way, all the time. In our marriages, our friendships, with our ‘enemies’, wherever.

    And for those of us who know the Good News, isn’t this how we should be living? If we could do that what a testimony it would be.

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