I think most people had dreams and hopes for 2020.
As a church ministry, we were preparing for our Hume Lake Summer Camp. It’s a highlight every year for our young adults. We get to spend a week in God’s beautiful nature, surrounded by huge trees, a peaceful lake, and a stunning view of snow-covered mountains on the horizon. There is no cell-reception, which allows for much self-reflection, joyful fellowship and deep meditation on God’s Word.
After our summer camp, we were going to go on our first exciting mission trip to Albania. A country with less than 2% believers. We would have had the opportunity to introduce many young lost Albanians to Christ and eternal hope.
And personally, our family was planning to visit our friends and family in Denmark whom we haven’t seen in more than a year.
But all those plans went out the window in March when everything took an unexpected turn because of the Coronavirus.
It was strange and unreal. Life as we knew it was turned upside down. Before the Coronavirus, we experienced more freedom, privileges, opportunities, and comfort in life than at any other time in history. But suddenly, schools were closed. Meetings were canceled. People were panicking. Zoom became the new buzz word. And Krispy Kremes hot light got competition from plain old toilet paper.
Back to Reality
In the midst of all these uncertainties, we were brought back to reality. A reality where we remember that we live in a broken world, with broken people in a broken system where hopes, dreams, and plans often are frustrated. A world where life isn’t going to be trouble-free.
Be Thankful in All Circumstances
But in all these circumstances, we must remember that God calls us to be thankful.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, the Apostle Paul gave several short but important commands as he finished his letter to the Thessalonian church. He said, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Note there that there isn’t a condition for our thankfulness. Paul didn’t say, “Be thankful, when there is no Coronavirus.” Or “Be thankful only when the economy is booming and your favorite President is in office.” No, he says, “be thankful in all circumstances.”
It means that our thankfulness shouldn’t be circumstantial. Thankfulness should be a permanent attitude of our hearts and minds in response to our good and glorious God!
It’s easier said than done, but God wants us to be thankful! Are you known as a thankful person?
There is so much to be thankful for in Christ. Meditation on Ephesians 2:1-10 makes it clear. But it doesn’t mean that it’s sometimes hard to see the good in the bad. To see the sun behind the clouds. To see God’s goodness in our disappointments.
But A.W. Pink reminds us that:
“Our disappointments are but His appointments.”
In other words, “(we know) that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
So whether Coronavirus or no Coronavirus. Physical school or virtual school. Dine-in or drive-thru only. Health or sickness. Socialization or isolation. Mask or no mask. God uses all circumstances for our good and His glory!
So yes! There are always reasons to give thanks to our Heavenly Father—Even in 2020!
Time to Give Thanks
What is one way God has used this Coronavirus-season to help you grow in Christ for which you can give Him thanks today?