Greetings, David here,
I happen to be in Texas right now. My Dad just turned 90 and my family is celebrating. I am surrounded by pictures of those who are dear to me. I am also confronted with pictures of my youngest daughter, Anna. She died eight years ago in a car accident. I continue to be drawn to just look at her pictures. I cry inside and hurt because I miss her.
Right now, seemingly more than in most years, many people are facing difficulties. There is frustration regarding our election process. Many people are in financial distress, having lost businesses or jobs. Others are ill. Most people now know others who have contracted or died from COVID-19, or perhaps have dealt with it themselves. Deep concerns for our nation are affecting so many of us.
Difficulties are everywhere. Of course, difficulties have been with us since Adam and Eve walked the earth. After the Fall, God promised Adam that he would have difficulties tilling the soil.
In our society, where blessings have graced our lives in so many areas, it is easy to forget that God never promised a life free of difficulties. In fact, Jesus shared, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33). Jesus basically promises us that we will have difficulties.
It is easy to respond to these difficulties with clichés, especially when we are trying to encourage someone else. You know, something like “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, I want to be honest. When my daughter died, I did not want anyone giving me a cliché.
So, what are we to do?
I believe the answer is found in Jesus. That is right, Sunday School answer number one: Jesus. Jesus continued the above statement about trouble with, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Is this too simple an answer? Absolutely not!
During times of difficulty, which are to be expected, our identity with Jesus should deepen:
- We should declare to God, to ourselves, and to others that “Jesus is Lord.” We should reaffirm our relationship with Jesus as our Master and our Savior. Jesus died on the cross because of our sins and because of that we receive forgiveness through His grace.
- We should actively trust Him. When we are tempted to despair because of difficulties, we should relax, trust, and embrace peace despite our circumstances.
- We should deepen our disciplines. Read God’s Word. Pray. Serve. Worship. Encourage others. Get outside of yourself and bless someone else. Love your neighbor, even those with whom you disagree.
Finally, especially as Thanksgiving Day arrives, let us all be thankful. The first century believers lived in turmoil and persecution, yet they were thankful.
May we be thankful in all ways:
- Good things are happening.
- Kansas has had electoral victories.
- COVID-19 vaccines are right around the corner.
- Regardless of who is in the White House in January, Jesus is still on His throne and He loves me.
God is so good.