Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV
How in the world can anyone keep a joyful, prayerful and thankful demeaner with everything that is going on in 2020? That's a great question. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, it is an especially appropriate time to consider what the word of God teaches on this subject. But it will take more than knowing what the bible says about this. Actually doing what it tells us can seem like an impossibility. After all, no living person has had to cope with so many crises at once. Political animus, a possible constitutional crisis, a surging coronavirus, a related economic recession, and racial tensions. It's enough to cause even the most optimistic among us to despair. What is there to be thankful for? Pease read on.
An Eternal Perspective For Thankfulness
Having faith in God and a view of eternity are invaluable. This helps one maintain a sense of gratitude, confidence and joy in tumultuous times. For the Christ-follower, it is essential to remember that the Eternal God is good – always. He has made promises to His children. His promises are guaranteed, because God, who cannot lie, promised them before time began (Titus 1:2). Among those assurances is this one.
For I Know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
In context, this God-breathed promise was of tremendous comfort to the exiled nation of Israel. Nonetheless, it serves to assure God's people of every era that He has a plan for each of us. That His plan is good and will not fail. Other scriptures reinforce this great truth. From eternity past, He conceived us (Jeremiah 1:5). He has a good work for each of His children to do (Ephesians 2:10). He has endowed each one with the spiritual gift necessary to perform it. (1 Peter 4:10). We can be confident God will complete the good work has He began in us. And that is despite the difficult days we face. (Philippians 1:6). Before the world began, we were on God's mind. What a blessing it is to know He has a plan for our lives.
Jesus promised to provide his disciples all their daily needs - food, housing, food and clothing. As they prioritized the seeking of His Kingdom and His righteousness, they would lack nothing (Matthew 6:31-33). I am a witness that God keeps this promise. In 25 years of fulltime service to God, He has provided everything I and my family have needed. Even in the midst of the great recession, we were never late making a mortgage payment. This, while many were losing their homes. We are very thankful. He has indeed supplied all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). One look at me bears witness that I've not missed any meals! That covers the past and the present. What about the future?
God’s word reveals this evil and corrupt world system will end. God's people will victoriously overcome. This gives us great hope (Matt. 24:4-14). Then, at His preset time, whether we have died, or are still alive, we will meet together in the air. Thereafter, we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We will see His face (Revelation 22:3-5). He will do away with everything that causes tears of sadness and pain (21:4). Hallelujah!
With faith in God's promises, we can be confident our future is secure. No matter what happens in this world. We can be thankful our God will make it all work together for our good. Because we love Him, and are called according to His purpose, even the bad things turn out well. (Romans 8:28). The Spirit-produced joy deep within our hearts will sustain us. Ever prayerful, we can be thankful in every circumstance. We can be grateful that God's will shall be done - and His will is always good! (1 Thess. 5:16-18) Many people are having a difficult time dealing with the troubles coming upon the world. Our joyful, prayerful and thankful attitude is a bright light. They may be drawn to our vibrant hope and cheerful demeanor.
This Thanksgiving season, let us each make an extra special effort to focus on the good and praiseworthy around us. Rather than the negativity and divisiveness in the world (Phil 4:8). We will find there is plenty for which to be grateful. Even in the midst of the turmoil of 2020.
From Pastor Eli Williams, my family, and all of us at Urban Light Ministries and EWilliamsCommuncations