Over the past months, and especially the past couple of weeks, there has been no shortage of difficult, negative and discouraging news, particularly regarding the pandemic, but also with respect to the divide in our nation.
Some of us have the discipline to simply not take stock of outward circumstances in the morning and some have even told me they just don’t listen to broadcasts, reports or read anything on line or on their smart phones throughout the day. Candidly, I think that’s the small minority of our population.
However, the trap that I believe we must avoid at all costs is to fall into the snare of seeing life through dark lenses. Increasing numbers of covid 19 cases that are reported constantly, the complicating and sometimes difficult implications of these rising numbers for our students, families and relationships, let alone some of our livelihoods and the ever present “threat” of more restrictions being imposed upon our lives once again can lead us all into a sense of discouragement, doubt and even depression.
I heard one couple that I respect a great deal recently share that they’ve “gone beyond covid fatigue” and are just looking for some way to escape the relational, emotional and physical toll this situation has brought upon them.
Add to all this inevitable pandemic fall-out, there’s little doubt that the same pernicious virus has played into our national, statewide and even local elections. According to the Washington Post 101.9million people voted before November 3rd this year! Although early voting and absentee voting is generally well documented and clearly verified, mail-in ballots have significantly fewer restrictions and are clearly the cause of the greatest amount of uncertainty and even doubt around the final election results in most all of the key swing states and in a number of very important races beyond the presidency.
If we mix all that together the stress upon our daily lives can be significant. The covid surges and the implications that it brings are most widely felt because it hits everybody of all ages, and particularly our younger people and elderly people who are greatly restricted and in many cases can’t leave their homes if they should be quarantined for any reason.
There are a significant number of people that are altering their Thanksgiving Day plans and some overly controlling governors are issuing restrictions that no more than 10 people can meet in a home for Thanksgiving!
After a wave of recent adjustments and cancellations, I found myself beginning to slip into that fog of frustration and a bit of negativity. It was then that the Lord reminded me of a very simple but profound couple of verses which provide the antidote to most all of the potential negative impact of the situation. Here it is:
“Rejoice always; pray constantly; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
This exhortation comes as Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians how to live their lives in the midst of a culture that was not receptive to their message and to believers who were new in this revolutionary gospel lifestyle.
When you couple this simple and easily memorized triad of scriptures, it really does give you a place to turn when circumstances begin to overwhelm or at the very least seem to wear you down in your daily journey. In fact, when you couple this with Romans 8:28 where the same author, the Apostle Paul, reminds the believers that “God works all things together for God for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” it should really present a double-walled resistance to falling victim in our spirit to the circumstantial fall-out of the pandemic and associated issues.
There’s no better time to demonstrate the wisdom of giving thanks than in this Thanksgiving season! Why not use these next couple of weeks leading up to Thanksgiving as a test run to see if in fact having these three short verses in Thessalonians as your counterpunch to the widespread negativity bears substantial fruit in changing your attitude from one of feeling under it all to one who is living over it all! “For this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
Thankful to share with you,