David L. Goetsch
Resolve to be Thankful in 2021 (1 Chronicles 16:34)
“Thank God 2020 is finally over!” I have heard this and similar statements a lot in the past couple of days. The year of our Lord 2020 was a challenge by anyone’s definition. Americans struggled with a contested presidential election, the COVID-19 pandemic, mob violence in several large cities, the defund the police movement, and a record number of hurricanes to name just a few highlights from a bad year. I certainly don’t blame anyone for being happy to say goodbye to 2020.
If you make New Year’s resolutions, I recommend you let one of them be to heed the admonition in 1 Chronicles 16:34. This verse reads: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” This verse is a reminder that even in the midst of trials, turmoil, and tribulation we can be thankful. The message in this verse is important because, even though 2020 is finally over, the new year will surely bring problems of its own. What year doesn’t?
Here is the bad news. No matter what happens on January 5th in the Georgia Senate races, there will be political turmoil, conflict, and discord; the COVID-19 pandemic is not over by a long shot; and all it will take to ignite more mob violence in one of our larger cities is a violent confrontation between the police and a suspected criminal. As for hurricanes, tornados, floods, and other natural disasters, who other than God knows what 2021 will bring? Life in a fallen world will never be easy.
Now for the good news. No matter what the new year brings—even if it turns out to be another 2020—there is much we can be thankful for. Paul David Tripp, in his book New Morning Mercies—A Daily Gospel Devotional, lists the following gifts from God we can be thankful for no matter what might be happening in our lives at the moment:
The sound of birds singing
The dew-touched beauty of a rose
The colorful majesty of a sunset
The purity of a blanket of newly-fallen snow
The loving tenderness of a kiss
The grandeur of flowers in bloom
The palate-pleasing taste of a good meal
The glory of a beautiful piece of music
The brilliance of leaves turning colors in the fall
The pure enjoyment of a good drama, movie, or musical
The wonder of a painting by a great master
The stunning majesty of a mountain
The sweet, innocent voice of a child
In addition to the gifts from God suggested by Paul David Tripp, let me add a few more. We can also be thankful for the serenity of a peaceful forest, the tranquility of a calm sea, the quiet of an early morning, the soothing sound of a rushing stream, the company of a loving companion, the camaraderie of old friends, the joy of having grandchildren, the soft patter of rain on the roof, the gentle kick of an unborn baby in its mother’s womb, the enticing aroma of coffee brewing, and the unconditional love of God—a love that endures forever.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Veteran’s Lament: Is This the America We Fought For? and Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press.