Challenge to Our Identities

Our news channels are filled with scary events in far away places.   Fear-mongers would have us believe that we are in immediate danger and should “batten down the hatches,” lest saboteurs do us in.

Have American Christians and Jews become such weak and cowardly people that we should be in fear?   No!

Life does hold many dangers…you may be attacked by a wild bear or lion (yes, there are bears and lions in the USA).   You may be hit by a stray bullet from some shooter (yes, there are more people shooting guns in the USA than ever before.)   You may catch some fatal disease (there are some although most diseases can be healed by modern medicine).   You may be maimed or killed in an automobile accident (very little likelihood of this, if you are careful.     Actually, the world is filled with dangers.   And, you will die some day.

But, worry about any of this is total foolishness.   It is Thanksgiving time.   Thank God…NOW. Thank God tonight, tomorrow morning….and all through the day.   Thank God for life and health.   Thank God for America.   Thank God for freedom.   Thank God for prosperity.   Thank God for those who love you.   Thank God for the church, and the gospel of Christ.   Thank God for the liberating presence of Christ in your life.

When I was a child in Sunday School, I learned a hymn which included these words:

“Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, See what God has done.”

I believe that there is great wisdom in that.   I have dealt with many injuries, illnesses, hospitalizations, severe and copious pain.   I don’t like any of those things and if I had a choice would have avoided them all.   But that kind of wishful thinking is sheer nonsense.   Bad things happen. Bad things happen to good people.   That is just the nature of life.

You and I and all others will die.   Think of it as simply going to sleep.   When our bodies are worn out and our minds depleted death is gift from God.   Browning wrote “He giveth His beloved sleep.”

Life itself has been a rich gift. We all have so much for which to be thankful.     I have been richly blessed.   How about your?   Let’s make this year’s Thanksgiving the most joyful of them all!