Here we are, on the cusp of the 244th birthday of our nation, and there is so much to be thankful for. With the pandemic raging, with the social unrest causing uncomfortable conversations among many of us, the shaky economic situation, unemployment at record highs, we should be thankful. Does it seem a little bit crazy to think in terms of what we have to be thankful for?
I’ve been thinking a lot about thankfulness lately. Does our thankfulness hinge on the good things that are happening, or on the absence of bad things? It’s easy for any of us to be thankful when everything around is good and we are in a good place. But what about when it’s not so easy? What about when it’s difficult, when it’s hard, when it’s uncomfortable? How do you even begin to think of being thankful?
In the letter to the Thessalonians 5: 16-18, we’re told “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Hmmmm…maybe there’s more to this thankfulness thing than just being thankful for the good stuff.
As a country we should be rejoicing right now. Yes, we are struggling with all that’s going on. Yes, we have so much we need to deal with to live up to the ideals expressed in our national documents. Yes, we are mourning all those we’ve lost during this pandemic, those lives lost due to violence and even war. Yes, we have some rough days ahead. Still, we should be rejoicing!
We should be rejoicing because our God is with us. We should be rejoicing because we are more than equipped to ride out these rough days. We should be rejoicing because our God assures us of not only God’s presence, but also God’s fortitude. It’s in our prayer time with God, we will find the resolve to see us through all of our circumstances. Friends, we should give thanks to God for this time. It’s in this time that we will rediscover a newness and freshness of being. We are being given the opportunity to begin again. A reset of who and whose we are. We ALL belong to God, and because of where we are, we can draw closer to God in our time of need. God is giving us an opportunity to see all those around us with new eyes. We are able to see regardless of our financial situation, regardless of our social standing, regardless of our color or culture, we are in this together. We can see each other’s needs more clearly, we can empathize with each other’s hurts and losses, we can become unified in our resolve to persevere.
This time is a gift without comparison. Every situation has an upside and a downside. We can choose to wallow in the pessimism that could rule our thinking and behavior, or we can choose to see God moving all of us to be more like who we were created to be. We were created to be free beings who honor God in our relationship with one another. I have to wonder in the past 244 years, if those who came before us faced difficulties? Of course they did, and God saw them through. God will see us through this time as well, and we will be a better world, a better nation, and a better people.
Rejoice always, for God is right here and there’s nothing that we face that with God we can’t overcome and be better for it.
Blessings and Peace,