It is doubtful that anyone will be sorry to see 2020 go. We enter November with grateful hearts that this weird year is almost over. The pandemic has been a thorn in the worldwide side, hurricanes have bashed our nation’s gulf coast, fires have ravaged the west coast and racial tensions have boiled over from border-to-border. Add to all of that the upcoming election, and it has been a totally forgettable leap year. Then our eyes (Remember, 2020 is our year for improved vision) come across a passage in the word of God that stops us in our tracks.
There it is staring us right in the face, “…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).” A few simple words that challenge our perspective. Our collective world is in a state of chaos. Half of us seem to be perpetually angry at the other half. Those who aren’t mad are sick. Those who aren’t sick have been devastated by a natural disaster, and there’s that verse telling us to be thankful in everything. How?
God is still God. He has not relinquished His throne. In the midst of all of the confusion in this world, He will reign forever (Psalm 29:10). The upcoming presidential election will not change that, no matter who wins. The very one who created everything from nothing has it all in His hands. Our limited vision can never see that except through the eyes of faith. We may be confused, befuddled and bewildered, but He is not.
As the mob seized the Son, all appeared to be lost. It seemed hopeless as the legal proceedings unfolded that night in all of their illegalities. The balance of power was leaning heavily in the wrong direction, and the outcome grew increasingly obvious. The sun rose with the verdict in: He would die that day. Death is brutally permanent, or is it? The nails were driven. Blood poured. The promised Messiah drew His final breath. If ever there was a time in which gratitude would be hard to figure and in short supply, that was it.
Twenty centuries removed from that gruesome execution, we can see clearly. It was a sad event but one for which we are eternally thankful. From this distance, we can see not only the cross but also the empty tomb. That Friday, they saw only the cross. We know the full story. The love of God sent a Savior to die for our sins. The power of that same God raised Him from the grave. That is the full gospel picture.
Believing in God’s love and power changes our perspective. We know with the utmost confidence that the Lord has His children in the palm of His hand, and that is an eternally safe place to be (John 10:27-30). For that, we can always be thankful.