(A devotion from the Fall of 2020)
This question caused me to stop and ponder during the delivery of a recent Sunday sermon. Honestly, my first response in my head was “Blessed!?!”; this is 2020. As I continued to reflect on the words in Psalm 67, the passage is pointing us to God’s desire in acknowledging our blessings, even when they might seem more bleak or small. The Bible actually calls us to give thanks in ALL circumstances, joy and suffering. That call has certainly been difficult in the year of 2020 as COVID has caused much grief, anxiety and strife in our lives. The moments we looked forward to in our children’s lives have been squashed; experiences we hoped to celebrate with them also extinguished. Trips and family gatherings have been put on hold for an indefinite time. We have quarantined till we are blue in the face. Sadly, some have had to say goodbye to those who have succumbed to COVID or other illnesses. But God in his goodness, gently reminds us in his word to look up and forward to the hope we have in Jesus Christ. He calls us to continue to run the race set before us regardless of the thorn in our side. God calls us to give thanks in ALL things; “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” [1 Thes 5:16]
Paul also reminds us in Philippians 4 to enter prayer with thanksgiving. As we enter a different Thanksgiving and Christmas season, let our hearts shift to the blessings we can count no matter how small they may seem. Let our vision be cast on what we can rejoice; “let our focus be on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” [ Philippians 4:8]
It is important to God for us to name our blessings because by counting our blessings, it allows people in our lives to also know God’s goodness. The most important professed gift we have received is Jesus; our Savior who died for us on the cross so we can live eternally with Him one day. So when you are feeling defeated, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life. We will get through COVID and all the hardship it has brought to our lives. I pray the blessings can rule your hearts instead of the sorrow of things lost over the last year. May this Thanksgiving bring to the table our profession of what is noble, excellent, and praiseworthy.