Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Tomorrow we will gather with our families and closest friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays of the year. But let’s be honest, after a year like this, many of us are going to have to reach down deep to find things we are thankful for. For many, the thing we will most be grateful for is the fact that 2020 is almost over and soon we can turn the page on this dreadful year! While I understand this sentiment and frankly in some ways feel this way myself, I must ask, is this an attitude that honors God?
If anything, a year like this highlights the everyday blessings that most of us perhaps took for granted. For example, I don’t think that I’ll ever take toilet paper for granted again! How about a simple trip to the grocery store? How about attending a church service or engaging with other believers in a life group…in person? How about enjoying a nice dinner out with your spouse or close friends? At the top of the list is the blessing of my family and most importantly, the eternal hope that comes from knowing Jesus Christ! With a backdrop of great difficulty these blessings stand out to me more than usual, so this year I choose to be thankful.
2020 has been the worst of times, but it’s also been the best of times because as believers in Jesus Christ we can be confident that this year wasn’t a throw-away year to God. Each day was and is a gift. The famous and often quoted verse, Romans 8:28 tells us that none of these days were wasted. Why? Because “we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
What it comes down to is this, each of us has a choice to make when it comes to being thankful. We can stay trapped in our pain and feel anger over our losses and disappointments. We can allow our circumstances to have the final word, or we can take time to count our blessings and see the faithful hand of God in bringing us to this point. Pastor Craig Groeschel put it powerfully in perspective when he said, “We may enjoy God on the mountaintops, but we get to know Him intimately in the valleys.”
Job, who suffered great and unimaginable loss said it this way, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5
God is on His throne. He is good, and this year we can choose to be thankful!
As I reflect on all that I am grateful for this year, I’m reminded about each of you, my church family. I also think of the kids that I am privileged to serve and the incredible leaders that I get to work alongside of. You have all been a huge source of blessing to me and my family. Thank you! My prayer for each of you is found in 3 John 1:3, “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers.”