Prayer #246: On Being Thankful on Thanksgiving, in the Middle of a Pandemic
Psalm 92 begins this way: "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High." Every Thanksgiving, we are reminded that we are to be a thankful people. And, we're also reminded that we have much to be thankful for. So, how do we thank God in the midst of a pandemic? There are many things that we can thank God for this time. Here are a few of them:
1. We thank God, first and foremost, for a new life in Christ Jesus. We have been blessed beyond measure! We have been redeemed, rescued, and remade in and through Jesus. Our sins have been forgiven and we have been given eternal life, forever with God. Paul calls it God's "inexpressible gift" (2 Cor. 9:15). We will praise and thank Him forever and ever for this. Why not today, and every day while we are on this earth!
2. We thank God for the hope we have in Him. In this time of trouble, many people do not have the hope in the Lord that we have. We know God is on the throne. We know that He is sovereign over all things. We know that nothing is impossible with Him. Many do not have this understanding or confidence. It is a great blessing to us. It calms our souls and gladdens our hearts.
3. We thank God for what we have instead of worrying about what we don't have. Yes, these are very difficult times. But God is taking care of us. He is still our Provider. Some of us have experienced loss: of loved ones, of health, of jobs, of close community, and many other things. But we know God loves us and will care for us. Many people without Christ live functionally as orphans. For everything they need---health, provision, and so many other things---it is up to them to obtain them. But we know that we are not orphans. We are God's children, and He will watch over us. Things may become difficult sometimes for us, but we always know He is there, and that He will never leave or forsake us.
4. We thank God for His Church. We are not alone in this Christian life. How we thank the Lord for His Church. We have brothers and sisters in our church that love us and pray for us. Even when we're not always able to physically gather together during this pandemic, we know that our family in Christ is there. I suspect that when COVID-19 has finally run its course, we will be more thankful for the Body of Christ than we ever have before.
5. We thank God for prayer. We aren't able to do as much with this pandemic. We can't go out as much, and can't do many of the things that kept us busy before. But we can pray. We've had more time than ever to pray (and lots to pray about) over the last 8 or 9 months, so this has been good for the Church. God is getting more prayer from His people, and He is hearing and answering prayer. People are being saved in the midst of this great contagion, all over the world. People are experiencing God's mercy and healing touch, and His provision in the midst of dire circumstances. We should not lose heart but redouble our prayers.
6. We thank God for what He is teaching us. There are so many other things I could list, but I did want to close with this. God has a great and holy purpose for what is happening. I know that I don't always remember this, and, I suspect, neither do you. But God wants to teach us many things through this challenging time: patience, trust in God, dependence on Him, love for the lost, and finding His peace in the midst of the storm. We are right now in one of God's important classes in His school. So, we thank Him for teaching us daily during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sometimes we are more of a complaining people than a thankful people. Pray that we would learn to thank God abundantly. Pray that we would be reminded of His great blessings to us. Pray that we would be characterized by gratitude.
1 Thess. 5:16-18: "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."