By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
The year 2020 has been one of the most difficult years in the lives of many Americans.
It has been a year filled with anxiety and fear due to COVID-19, racial tensions and riots across the country, and one of the most bitter and contested presidential elections in modern history, if not all time. Even after a winner has been declared, many people are upset and the election results probably will be contested in the courts.
And, just remember, no matter how you voted or whether you liked the election results or not, the sun has risen every day since Nov. 3 and I have no reason to think it won’t (unless Jesus returns sooner than later). God is still on His throne.
As Thanksgiving approaches next week, there are literally countless people who probably feel they have no reason to be thankful this year. People have lost loved ones due to COVID. Some lost their jobs. Still, others have dealt with other illnesses and trials that life brings our way.
In spite of trials and tribulations, we still can be thankful. People without Christ may not feel that way, but Christians should never get to that point. As the old hymn reminds us, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.”
Do a quick Google search on your computer and you will find at least 100 Bible verses that talk about thankfulness.
Here are just a few that are meaningful to me:
I Chronicles 16:34, HCSB: Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.
I Thessalonians 5:18, HCSB: Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 5:20, HCSB: Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:17, HCSB: And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Psalm 107:1, HCSB: Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his faithful love endures forever.
As I reflect on this year from the perspective of the Wilkey family, it has been tough but God has blessed in many ways. When a tornado struck Middle Tennessee in March, it severely damaged the home of my son, Daniel, and his wife, Jill, who was almost nine months pregnant, but they were unhurt.
In the aftermath of the storm, dozens upon dozens of volunteers became the hands and feet of Jesus, showing them His love by clearing debris and trees off their home and property.
Then, almost exactly one week later, God gave them and us the blessing of Clara Ann, our first granddaughter. With Clara and our two grandsons in South Carolina (Eli and Parker, along with their parents, Joanna and Matt) we are blessed beyond measure.
We have so many other reasons to give thanks, including the fact that our family has remained relatively healthy in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
I daresay that every Tennessee Baptist can find multiple reasons to give thanks to God as Thanksgiving Day approaches next week.
I know one reason we all have as Christians and I left the best for last. John 3:16 (HCSB) gives us the greatest reason why we can be thankful: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
What a promise and what a reason to be thankful!