Is it hard to be thankful this year? Have things not gone well for you? Did you have your heart set on a certain type of year, and it never materialized? Did everything that could possibly go wrong go wrong? Did all the goals you set for this year crumble at your feet? Do you feel like life is worse than it’s ever been?
Have you stopped at any point this year and looked for the good moments? Have you paused long enough to count your blessings? Have you looked past the ugly and seen beauty? Even for a moment? After all. The daffodils bloomed in the spring. The lilacs and peonies still offered their sweet fragrance. The leaves on the trees didn’t fail to do their job. The apple trees and grapevines produced their bountiful harvest. The sweet corn tousled. The wheat was harvested in the fall. Life went on, not as usual, but it continued.
Our country isn’t at war. And yet it is. We’re at war with ourselves. And it’s the worst battle we’ve ever faced. We face an uncertain future like never before. We’re unprepared. Yet God is in control. God’s will is being accomplished. For that we must be thankful. For if we aren’t thankful that God is working during the tough times, why would we expect him to work in the good times? Where is our trust?
This year, chickens have produced eggs and cows have provided milk. The sun rose each morning and set each evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were served in most every home. Every day. Life does go on.
Why does life have to be good in order for us to be joyful?
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Some say that desperate times call for desperate measures. How about we desperately seek God? How about desperately looking for things to be thankful for? How about desperately trying to please God? Above all else.
Lest we think this year is wasted and useless, it is not. It is far from that. Oh. It has been a trying year for many. But we have gained much from these daunting times. More time with our family. A slower pace of life. We’ve learned that there are storms we must sit back and wait out. We’ve learned there really are some things that are out of our control. We’ve learned to just wait. We’ve realized the need for community is really a need. We’ve always taken it for granted. We’ve also taken for granted those who serve the sick and the poor, the needy and the lonely. Those workers are so needed and appreciated. Much more than they will ever know.
I thought 2020 would be the year I got everything I wanted. Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have.anonymous
We can learn to find joy in the smallest of things. Things we once took for granted. The chance to actually see someone smile without a mask. The fist bump from a friend. The copier at work actually working. The neighbor stopping by to deliver chocolate chip cookies. The beautiful flowers sent by a dear friend. The unexpected nap on a rainy afternoon. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
It would be easy to focus on everything that went wrong this year. But if we just take a minute to search for what went right, our perspective on life will change. Oh. The future still seems uncertain. There are obstacles to recovery. But hope is on the horizon. Without hope, we might as well give up. But God is good, even when life isn’t. God is with us. In the midst of the trials and fears and uncertainty, God is true and certain. God is sovereign and powerful. He hates evil and loves good. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. For that we can be thankful. Let’s put our hope in him.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord ! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19