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Jan13WedOne single expression can be the key to facing perilous times. January 13, 2021 by Phil Callaway
Whoever said, “May you live in interesting times” certainly got his wish.
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- Faith & Friends
During March of 2020, peace and comfort were in shorter supply than toilet paper. Ramona and I self-quarantined and, after praying at breakfast together, I tried to think up something to make her laugh.
One day, I said, “Honey, you’ve always been there for me. During the energy crisis of the ’70s, we met. During the recession of the ’80s, we married. We weathered Y2K together. And the crash of 2008. And the Great TP Shortage of 2020. And now here we are hunkered down indoors, two metres apart, together. I may be wrong, but I think you’re bad luck.”
Thankfully, she laughed. That laugh is one of a hundred things I’m grateful for in times like these.
According to several studies, anxiety and gratitude have trouble co-existing in the human brain. I mentioned this to friends, and they said things such as: “I’m thankful for a slower pace.” “Time with family.” “Church this morning in our jammies.”
In C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, a senior devil sends letters to his evil understudy.
“Plagues are a most effective weapon,” the senior devil writes. “Normally, Christians are quite comfortable. But if you can stir up hysteria by means of a plague so that they cut themselves off from God’s gifts to them, the torment of isolation will drive them to despair. Get them to forget about their usual practices of prayer and alms-giving, thinking only about themselves. Storing up treasures that we can send moth and rust to destroy.”
During the challenges of these difficult times, my friend, James, put one word on a Post-it note and stuck it to his nightstand. He sees it before he flips off the light. It’s there when he wakes in the morning. It says: “Thankful.”
Like nothing else, this is the key to facing perilous times. It produces the peace and abiding joy of knowing that God is at work in us, even in the hard days.
The Psalmist wrote, “I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 9:1).
In 1 Chronicles 16:34 we read, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Counting One’s Blessings
I asked my Facebook friends what they were thankful for in these difficult times.
Elaine said, “I’m thankful for hot water and soap.”
This is from Carrie: “I miss my job, but I’m thankful for more time with family!”
Shirley says, “Life, salvation, family, friends, health—and your humour, too.”
John said, “I’m thankful for a faithful God of amazing grace. When I became an invalid, unable to walk, I found out I have more friends than I knew. They don’t consider me a burden; they are honoured to serve the weaker vessel.”
Belinda, who battles multiple sclerosis, says, “The forever hope that comes from my faith and belief in Jesus.”
Enid said, “So glad that God assures us of His love. We have His Word and His promises.”
And what do I count when I count my blessings? Food. My next breath. We didn’t hoard a thing and we still had enough toilet paper. I’m thankful for FaceTime with grandkids. The chance to share God’s love with others. The hope of eternity with Jesus. And I’m thankful I went into the bank this morning with a mask on. And wasn’t arrested.