How today can we be thankful in light of the recent events?
Because of Ferguson, we are reminded of the depth of our own depravity as a people. Pressures surround this issue. The justice system cannot and will not please everyone. Some entire classes of people have often experienced injustice. The riots and destruction are inexcusable. Many seek to use Ferguson as a way to divide people even more. The reality is that most of us hope the best for people. We grieve with the Brown family. We support the criminal justice system. None of us believe this is a perfect situation – far from it. To take sides is folly. No one I know or read was there, yet we tend to opine from our perspective where this case just strengthens our personal worldview. “See, I told you. This is what always happens.” Although, none of us can say what truly happened or accurately critique the system. Questions remain from the first event – the robbery, the fight, the shots, the death, the aftermath. Questions remain from the grand jury – the prosecutor, the evidence, the results. Questions remain from the response – the riots, the looting, the Governor’s response, the lack of not using the MO National Guard on Monday, the White House involvement, the media’s role. In the midst of all these questions, you have deep hurt, suffering, and disappointment. We groan as a people in suffering.
Other events also remind us of evil and a world that is broken. Last night here in our county, a vehicle crash killed four and injured four. All teenagers from this area. There are dads, moms, grandpas, grandmas, brothers, sisters, and scores of friends reeling with deep and immense suffering. “Why?” “Why now?” “Why them?” Few of us understand the depth of hurt associated with the death of a child. As parents, one of our greatest fears is the knock by the police on the door or the phone call by a friend. We groan as a community in suffering.
We cannot ignore what is happening to Christians and people worldwide at the hands of ISIS and other fanatics. As we cannot help but focus on what is more immediate and around us, we still hear the cries for help from those being persecuted in the Middle East. We hurt with the people of Israel. We cannot imagine the plight of those running from ISIS in multiple countries. This is pure evil.
So how do we respond on this Thanksgiving Day?
First, today is the day in our lives where we stop to formally say thanks to God
for all that He is and provides.
First, today is the day in our lives where we stop to formally say thanks to God for all that He is and provides. We rejoice in what He has done in the past – specifically on this holiday with the Pilgrims but generally there is so much more. We rejoice in what He does every day – His grace in the seasons, our food He provides, our general well-being. We rejoice in what He will do – ultimately, our eternal salvation but so much more between now and then. We thank God.
Additionally, we long for the day God rules and reigns throughout the whole world. We know in that day all evil will be conquered, all pain will cease, all suffering will end, and all followers of Christ will be eternally blessed with the physical presence of Christ. What incredible hope we enjoy as we understand the promises of the Bible. We thank God.
Furthermore, we hurt with and seek to help those who are suffering. It is impossible to express in words how we wish things were different. We sense our own weakness and the depth of suffering around us. In the midst of all this suffering, we are grateful that God demonstrates to us how to love well, how to see past ourselves and think of others, and how to have mercy on those who need mercy.
Today we are grateful for the countless blessings provided by God to us every day. God’s grace and kindness extends to us throughout every day. It begins with food, air, relationships, work, and opportunities. The friends…so many wonderful friends. None of us have it perfect. None of us are perfect. However, by God’s grace we have the opportunity today to respond to the people and events around us in ways that honor God and serve others.
Take time today to talk with those you love. Take time today to think through all you have to be grateful for even in the midst of suffering. Take time to give someone around you today a reason to be grateful. Take time today to pray and thank God. Let’s be grateful for God’s mercy even in the midst of our suffering.
Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
His love endures forever (Psalm 136).