A Thanksgiving to give thanks

Byron McGee - Contributing columnist

We have a lot to be thankful for, even with all that is going on in our world today. The day-to-day struggles of living out our lives can be difficult when it seems that everything is upside-down and we find ourselves in what seems like an ocean of life being tossed and turned.

This has been the year of what some have called our “new normal”, but for many it is a year of frustrations. As I listen to our conversation concerning all that is going on in our society, one thing I have heard is that 2020 is a horrible year. Some say it’s been the worst ever.

Is it really the worst year ever, or could it be that our perspective is warped because of what’s going on? As all of our “normal” activities have been changed, we have not been able to handle it. Our social structure seems to have been disrupted forever.

One such change is how we do ministry in the church. I believe it has made us rethink how we reach a world that needs to hear the “good news” of the Gospel. The church was comfortable in our safe buildings, with its immediate circle of people, places and events. God has called us to evangelize the “whosoever will’s” to let them know they can be rescued from a world in chaos.

If people of this world want to live a better life, the answer is not in this world but in the person of Jesus Christ. The transforming power of God, His son Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, who can alter the heart, mind and soul of anyone to live the life that God intended for them to live.

As we are now facing a surge in COVID-19, with a quarter of a million people who have died, and more who are sick, we have sometimes seen in many of us the worst of humanity in it’s selfish behavior. There has been a stubbornness to submit to those who have authority over us and seek to do the right thing.

Submission is giving up our perceived rights for the welfare of others

1 Peter 2:13-17 — Submit to every human authority because of the Lord. To the emperor, governors: praise those who do good.

Submit ‘line up’ as free people not using our freedom to cover up for evil.

With all our social norms being trampled on, Thanksgiving and possibly even Christmas may look a little different, but I believe with the right focus on the Lord and His goodness, we have much to be thankful for.

Here are a couple Bible verses to remind us of His goodness.

Psalm 107:1 — “Oh give thanks to the Lord. For He is good and His steadfast love which endures, lasts forever”

God’s steadfastness toward us, that is it continues and keeps going on and shows His love toward all of us. Each day is one more day of his steadfast love.

1 Chronicles 16:34 — “Give thanks to the Lord, because He is good.”

Really, better than good, He is great! And again, His love endures forever.

Psalm 95:2-3 — “Come before Him (God) in an attitude of thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.

Music and song should be our outward expression of gratitude. The reason is, the Lord is great and is above all other gods.” We need to approach the Lord in the mindset of being thankful..

Thanksgiving in the midst of this chaotic time does not have to be a downer, because in the midst of what’s going on we can and should still be thankful. If your life has not been touched by COVID-19 then you have something to be thankful for.

Are you still employed with food on the table, clothes to wear? Are children still able to be in school (albeit in a different way)? Do you have a reasonable portion of health and strength?

Then yes. We can be thankful. We are told to be thankful!

To those who have found themselves entangled in this virus and have become sick or lost a loved one, nothing can take away the pain. But to know a great God cares for us even in our worst moments hopefully can bring comfort.

Good friends and loved ones coming to celebrate a life well lived and knowing that the God of all grace will get us through this and more. In the midst of the storm, only the Lord can speak peace to the storm in our lives. Someone once said, “we are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or getting ready to enter a storm once again.”

But the Master of the sea is always in control, over everything.

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Byron McGee is Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Wilmington.

This weekly column is provided to the News Journal by members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.

Byron McGee

Contributing columnist