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Being Thankful in the age of a PandemicRead

Being Thankful in the age of a Pandemic

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24


“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”


As we look back at the year, it is one where every struggle and problem has been exaggerated and compounded by the ongoing presence of Covid-19. The most challenging circumstances we face in life is often not the intense momentary trials, but the difficulties that seem to continue unabated and with no end in sight. As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, there seems little to be thankful for: the disruption of Covid-19 is only increasing, the political scene is unresolved even after the election, and families are unable to gather together because of state restrictions or reluctant to meet because of apprehension for our personal health. As we approach the holiday season, it feels very “unholidayish.” Instead of a Turkey and all the fixing, this year it seems more appropriate to just have a Cosco Hot Dog and call it a day.

However, when we examine Paul’s exhortation, we find that a life and attitude of thanksgiving is at the center of God’s purpose and will for us. But how can we give thanks when our circumstances seem so averse to our wellbeing? We find the answer when we look intently and closely at his statement. It is critical for us to note that he does not state, “for everything give thanks” rather he states, “in everything give thanks.” The difference is subtle but critical. There are many circumstances and events that happen in life not worthy of thanksgiving. We cannot be thankful for the apparent triumph of evil in our world. We cannot be thankful for the death of people because of illness. We cannot be thankful when people riot in the streets and destroy other people’s livelihood.

Nevertheless, what Paul does exhort us to do is to remain thankful in every situation. For Paul, the basis for gratitude does not come from the events and circumstances happening around us, but from the work and activity of God within us. We can be thankful in spite of our circumstances because God is the one who gives us peace. He is working in our life to bring about our complete sanctification. He preserves and protects us in every situation we face until he brings us home into his presence (vs 23). He is always faithful to his promises so that every one of them will come to pass and nothing we face in life will undermine or threaten his purpose for us (vs 24). The greatest act of praise and thanksgiving does not come when life is good, but when life is difficult, for it is then that we move beyond a superficial lip service of thankfulness, to a genuine confidence in God’s promises no matter what the situation we face. More so this year than any other year, we have reason to celebrate Thanksgiving because we have a God who is still protecting us and working within us to accomplish his purpose. We have every reason to be thankful, not because of what is happening around us, but because of what God has promised to do in us and for us.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings—name them one by one

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

-Johnson Oatman, Jr, “Count your Blessings

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24


“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”


As we look back at the year, it is one where every struggle and problem has been exaggerated and compounded by the ongoing presence of Covid-19. The most challenging circumstances we face in life is often not the intense momentary trials, but the difficulties that seem to continue unabated and with no end in sight. As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, there seems little to be thankful for: the disruption of Covid-19 is only increasing, the political scene is unresolved even after the election, and families are unable to gather together because of state restrictions or reluctant to meet because of apprehension for our personal health. As we approach the holiday season, it feels very “unholidayish.” Instead of a Turkey and all the fixing, this year it seems more appropriate to just have a Cosco Hot Dog and call it a day.

However, when we examine Paul’s exhortation, we find that a life and attitude of thanksgiving is at the center of God’s purpose and will for us. But how can we give thanks when our circumstances seem so averse to our wellbeing? We find the answer when we look intently and closely at his statement. It is critical for us to note that he does not state, “for everything give thanks” rather he states, “in everything give thanks.” The difference is subtle but critical. There are many circumstances and events that happen in life not worthy of thanksgiving. We cannot be thankful for the apparent triumph of evil in our world. We cannot be thankful for the death of people because of illness. We cannot be thankful when people riot in the streets and destroy other people’s livelihood.

Nevertheless, what Paul does exhort us to do is to remain thankful in every situation. For Paul, the basis for gratitude does not come from the events and circumstances happening around us, but from the work and activity of God within us. We can be thankful in spite of our circumstances because God is the one who gives us peace. He is working in our life to bring about our complete sanctification. He preserves and protects us in every situation we face until he brings us home into his presence (vs 23). He is always faithful to his promises so that every one of them will come to pass and nothing we face in life will undermine or threaten his purpose for us (vs 24). The greatest act of praise and thanksgiving does not come when life is good, but when life is difficult, for it is then that we move beyond a superficial lip service of thankfulness, to a genuine confidence in God’s promises no matter what the situation we face. More so this year than any other year, we have reason to celebrate Thanksgiving because we have a God who is still protecting us and working within us to accomplish his purpose. We have every reason to be thankful, not because of what is happening around us, but because of what God has promised to do in us and for us.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings—name them one by one

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

-Johnson Oatman, Jr, “Count your Blessings

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