David was a man who experienced the entire pinwheel of emotions. His life was one of many ups and downs, and included some simple truths and complicated relationships. Through it all – the victory over Goliath, the near-death run-ins with Saul, the ascension to King, the heartbreak of losing a child – through it all, David maintained a strong relationship with God.
During one particular low point, David penned these words: “Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Ps. 28:6-7). David was a grateful boy, a grateful man, and eventually a grateful King.
In the best of times, it is not always easy for us to count our blessings. During the COVID year known as 2020, it’s even more difficult. Be honest: do you truly feel like taking time out of your day to sing praises to the LORD? To thank God for your own physical health, while so many others are lacking in that category? To glorify God because your local restaurants and other small business have been forced to close?
It’s not easy. It wasn’t easy for David. Or Moses. Or Joshua. Or Sarah. Or Hannah. Please don’t misunderstand my point – your pain is real. And you should feel that. No one is thankful for tragedy or adversity, rather we are tasked with being thankful in spite of our circumstances. We can be grateful for certain things (or people), while simultaneously grieving other losses. Put differently, our emotional lives work within a “both/and” scheme, and not necessarily an “either/or.”
As for me, I certainly lament the loss of over 260,000 lives due to COVID, but I’m also grateful for the countless healthcare workers risking their own health to save others. I am upset that families will be separated this Thanksgiving, while thankful for the opportunity to use Zoom to at least “see” loved ones. I’m certainly bummed that our congregation has not been able to meet in-person for a few weeks (and a few weeks more), but I will also give thanks that, for the most part, we have remained a healthy group.
What about you? For what, or who, can you give thanks this week?
In Christ’s Name,