Letter to God

Dear God,
I’ve got something important I want to talk to you about.  I have been reading about you in the Bible.  Paul says that we should thank you for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20).  I’m trying to understand what this means.  Can you help me figure it out?  Does he mean like everything – no matter what – no matter how small or trivial?  Or is Paul just talking about the important stuff?

I get that you’re all-powerful and that you made me and stuff, so I want to say thanks for everything.  I have learned so far in life that gratitude is one of the profound elements of spirituality that leads to a life of joy and optimism.  I try to fill my prayers to you with expressions of thanks.  I even try to make sure I thank you for at least 3 or 4 things before I ask you for something else.

Can I be honest with you, though?  Sometimes I feel really guilty thanking you for things because it seems like there are a lot of people out there that could use your help more than I can.  Like earlier this evening when I thanked you for the breakfast burrito I was about to eat.  It was really tasty – so thanks, but I’m also pretty sure that there were other people down here that needed it a lot more than I did, especially since I’ve also been asking you to help me lose weight.  I know you’re omnipotent and all, but it would have made more sense if you had given me a salad instead.  But is that the sort of thing you want us to thank you for?  Burritos and such?  Or was Paul just talking about the really important stuff?

I don’t want to be ungrateful, I just kind of feel like a spoiled brat when I’m constantly going on and on about how great it is that you keep giving me burritos, bikes, & shoes and stuff.  You’ve probably heard this already, but there are people down here that don’t have anything.  They don’t have food, water, or even houses!  I don’t really understand why you keep giving me stuff when you don’t seem to give those kids in Africa anything.  I’ve seen them on TV – they could really use some burritos… and houses.  Should I be grateful that you keep giving me more stuff than you give other people – because that just kind of makes me feel like a jerk.

It’s hard for me to understand why you would put so much effort into giving me stuff all the time when there are so many people out there with greater needs than my own.  Luke says you told Jesus to tell us to give away all our stuff to the poor anyway (Luke 18:22). Is that right?  Do you really want me to give away all the stuff you give me?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just spread it all around evenly in the first place?

Can I be honest with you again?  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to give away all my stuff.  I know I sound like a selfish jerk, but it’s really hard.  I have one more question for you, if you’ve got time.  If you give me something that you really want me to give away to someone who needs it more than I do, but I know I’m probably just going to keep it, should I still thank you for it?  Or would that just make me a bigger jerk?

Anyway, thanks for listening.


15 thoughts on “Letter to God”

  1. Being thankful in all things seems to be the key to "Being of Good Cheer" (another thing God asks of us that at times can be a little tricky). I think your awarness of the sufering in the world comes from your gratitude for things like burritos and bikes. Being thankful for the blessings in our lives (large or small) seems to have a contagious effect, creating a desire within us to bless the lives of others. You may not be solving world hunger but you can bless the lives of others in numerous ways.

  2. Dear Reuben,

    Thank you for your letter and especially for your prayers and thankfulness. Please know that my children are my pride and joy; that you enjoy your life and the things with which I have blessed you gives me great pleasure.

    Perhaps the teachings of Paul that you referenced are best understood in the context of other prophets’ admonitions to pray always. (1 Sam 7:8, 2 Nephi 32:9, Mosiah 26:39, etc.) I certainly appreciate specific thanks each day in your formal prayers, but where is your heart throughout each day? Is it filled with gratitude for the things you see, have, experience, and are?

    I am also glad you enjoyed your burrito, they are very tasty (you should try one with some green chilis and extra cheese). But, do not forget that I have given you agency. I endowed you with the ability to achieve much in your life, including opportunities and talents necessary to sustain yourself (and others). In this way, I made it possible for you to obtain your burrito, but it was also possible for you to have made a different choice. I am omnipotent, but I have chosen to give you the ability to choose for yourself. Could you have eaten a salad tonight?

    Finally, impart of your substance to the poor, widow’s mite, etc. That’s all.

    Sorry to cut this short, but somebody’s got to make sure Brother Romney doesn’t get into any more fights with rappers on airplanes. How is he supposed to save the Constitution in 2012 if he keeps getting negative publicity like that?



    P.S. We should go for a bike ride sometime.

    * (This letter may not have actually been written by God.)

  3. Thanks for posting this it reminds of prayers when i was a kid. I have do not pray as much any more if any. It gets old after a while seeing no results.

  4. Dear Reuben,

    I'm a bit worried that you think God gave you a burrito on purpose, not a salad. Anyway, just eating salads for losing weight is boring. Try other stuff.

    Also, I'd like to suggest you read Alexander McCall Smiths Mma Ramotswe books (at least one, although can be boring) – they really remind me about how even in Africa kids and adults can be fortunate. At least in Botswana. Apparently, to be fortunate you don't have to have a washing machine, but a home is fortunate indeed, same as food, although it might not be a burrito.

  5. Tacy, I have also observed that gratitude and optimism are contagious. When I am around those who are perpetually optimistic, after throwing up a little bit in my mouth, I find myself becoming more optimistic.

  6. @Tuittu
    Thanks for the recommendation. I believe you that people can be thankful even if they don't have much. And it seems like they have a more profound understanding of gratitude than I do. To have nothing and still have gratitude, it seems like they have quit thinking about gratitude in terms of things, and start having gratitude for life – to transcend gratitude for the mundane things of this world, and instead give thanks for things not of this world. Is this what God wants us to do, regardless of our material possessions? Does got want me to stop thanking him for things that don't matter & focus on more important things?

  7. Thanks for the post, Reuben! Although God gave you the means to buy the burrito, it was you who chose it over the salad. We have been endowed with freewill by God, and you exercised that freewill. Secondly, regarding Luke 18:22, the context is salvation and God's kingdom. It appears that the 'certain ruler', when faced with the choice between his riches and salvation, would likely choose the former. Though I cannot answer for certain that Jesus wants everyone to literally give away all of his/her possessions for distribution to the poor, it seems more likely that He makes the point to seek out salvation and God's kingdom above all else. For some, the struggle for the most important thing in one's life will be one's spouse or family; for others, one's work; for others, drugs or alcohol or some other vice; and others, like the 'certain ruler' it will be money. These are just my opinions…

  8. @ bf, thanks for the comment. You're right, I chose the burrito, not God. And I agree that when Jesus told the ruler to give away all his possessions, it was probably a rhetorical device rather than literal instructions for all of us.

    That's part of what I'm trying to get at in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way… If I'm the one choosing the burritos, does it make sense to thank God for the burrito? Or should I be thanking Him for more important things like my health and freedom (the things that allowed me to choose the burrito)? What if, like the ruler, my challenge in life is to rise above material possessions – to place God before my possessions… if my wealth is my biggest challenge in life to overcome, does it still make sense to thank God for it? Did God even give me the wealth in the first place?

  9. I think most of scripture is metaphorical.

    However, one of the teachings I do take as fairly straight forward is to give much away. Minimalism is good for the soul.

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