Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:18
Thanks in all circumstances God? Everything?
But you don’t understand, this Covid-19 pandemic is out of control and has wreaked havoc in my life. I lost family members I love dearly. The disease has left me now struggling to breathe, even move or walk; I’m tired. Not only this, but I already have a chronic illness, and my loved ones too; we’re sick. Trying to avoid Covid and manage my own and their disease is overwhelming, scary. Can the health system properly handle my illness and the number of Covid cases? Am I going to get Covid and die? Is my chronic illness going to worsen? Will I end up with both? These and other concerns elevate my blood pressure. Ugh! I’m fearful.
Sir, in all due respect, my livelihood is gone–in an instant. I no longer have a business. Financially, I’m strapped. I must start over at 55 years old. The work culture has changed and so has my job. I’ve gone out to work all my life; now I must work from home. I don’t know much about computers, navigating Zoom, or managing my kids around work. Their lives are in upheaval too; one week they’re in school, another week, they’re doing virtual learning because someone became sick with Covid. They’re not learning much, and their new schedule collides with mine. I don’t like this. I’m confused.
Do you see, my family has been torn apart. My husband left me. My wife has changed how she now sees me. My kids don’t even visit. I’m lonely.
I find no solace when tuning to media outlets to hear the news so that I stay abreast of what’s going on or discover what I’m supposed to be doing. In fact, I’m even more disheartened. I find myself often gasping for breaths listening to the “breaking news.” It’s sure that, isn’t it? My heart breaks reading the headlines or watching those appalling crime videos they show over and over again–another murder, mass casualty incident, missing person/rape, shooting, or a corruption case involving those in high places. I’m not so thankful to know at any place or at any time, I too could become a victim, simply while working on my job, walking my dog in the park, attending a concert, or church or school, or traveling in my car or on a plane or train. Announcements of racist and social biases and extremist groups and their ideologies run rampant in news coverage. Political leaders are not unified. They’re bashing one another. We’re told about the “left,” the “right,” the “progressives?” What is all this? What does it mean? So much divisiveness. It’s chaotic out there. I have no peace.
I’m a sociable, outgoing person. I always enjoyed freely mingling with friends, dining out, working out at the gym, hosting home parties, or catching a movie at the local theatre. Now I feel trapped in a shell, limited by what I can do, and paranoid to freely venture out to enjoy myself. I’m anxious about what I touch, who comes near me, who’s not vaccinated, and whether the restaurant has been disinfected. Wearing these masks is becoming a nuisance. I’m not free to be me. I want things to be like they were before. I miss socializing. I’m depressed.
So, Lord, are you saying in this verse, I should be thankful because these troubling things are Your will for me? Or, are you saying that what Your will is for those who follow Christ is to say “Thank you Lord” regardless of what is personally happening in their life or in the world around them?
Well, it’s reiterated in Ephesians 5:20, “…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Everything means everything. Always means always. Hmm!
Happy Thanksgiving folks! Be blessed until next time…