Thanks for Nothing!
Thanks for Nothing!
God loves each of us just the way we are. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve become, God loves you to pieces. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. God just loves you, with an everlasting love. He made you, you’re unique, his fingerprints are all over you, and like a loving mother, like a doting father, God sees himself in you. Like a still pond reflects your image, you reflect God’s image. You don’t have to try. That’s just the way it is. Your smile, your laugh, your walk, your mannerisms—they all trace back to God.
The religious impulse in us always has to add this caveat: “God loves you as you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way.” Yes, we change, and God has a plan for each of us. He changes us if we let him, and sometimes even without our permission. He makes all things beautiful in their time, the Book of Ecclesiastes says.
But that doesn’t change the fact that God passionately loves you, beyond all you can ever comprehend, right now, just as you are. Any impulse in you that insists on adding that “but too much…” caveat, you can just forget about. There will be a time to come back to that eventually.
Right now, though, you can just sit back, relax, and rest in the fact that you are greatly beloved of God, just as you are. “Greatly beloved of God” is old-time religious language for “God is crazy about you.” It means “God thinks you’re incredibly beautiful, amazingly wonderful, and just plain awesome.” It means “Wanna know a strange and truly astounding secret? God is head-over-heels in love with you.” It means, “No, you’re not perfect, and you don’t have to try to be, because God thinks you’re fantastic just the way you are.” You didn’t and can’t and couldn’t ever do anything to earn God’s love for you. And there’s nothing you can or will ever do to make God stop loving you.
You can take the time to rest easy right now in the knowledge that God loves you, and that you don’t have to do anything to make that love happen or to keep it from going away. If you want proof, here’s a Bible verse about it: “the Anointed One [Jesus Christ] came and died to demonstrate his love for sinners who were entirely helpless, weak, and powerless to save themselves…Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!” (Romans 5, verses 6 and 8, The Passion Translation).
So, since you don’t have to do anything to make God love you, and in fact, there is nothing you can do that will make him stop loving you, that simply means this:
And if you’d like to just sit there and do nothing, that’s okay. You can’t work your way to heaven, you can’t buy or bribe or connive or strive to earn heaven or God’s love, and that love—the love that created the universe, set the world in order, and made you—isn’t going away, ever, so therefore, it’s okay to do nothing. Nothing at all. And anyone who tells you something different is just trying to sell you something, and you don’t have to buy it.
So just rest in the fact that God loves you, and at some point, you’ll get to thinking about how that makes you feel. It’s called gratitude. Someone—a very big, wonderful Someone—has given you a gift. It’s something you could never afford, something so great you’d never even think to buy it for yourself even if you could. That gift is called “knowing God.” And it’s yours for free.
Having to do nothing is great. It’s like hanging out on the porch on a Sunday afternoon, sitting in the porch swing, enjoying the breeze, appreciating the flowers, the trees, the blue sky, the clouds. Waving a hello and giving a smile to those who pass by. No deep conversation, just relaxing, enjoying being together with someone, or enjoying being alone. Just enjoying life. In other words, doing nothing. (If you don’t have a porch or a swing, you can imagine, and you can do nothing wherever you want—in your favorite place.)
All this is why Meister Eckhart, a German church leader from a few hundred years ago, said this: “If the only thing you ever say to God is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.” So just say “thank you” to God, and look to him with appreciation, love, and gratitude. And take the time to enjoy doing nothing.
That, by the way, is the basis of what’s known as centering prayer, also called contemplative prayer. There’s a little more to it, but not much.
And while you’re sitting there with God, enjoying doing nothing, don’t forget to thank God for nothing—the nothing you need to do to be loved by him.