I just love this time of year. The leaves changing color. The cool, crispness of the air. Baked goods fresh out of the oven and sipping hot soup under a cozy blanket. Can you feel it?
One of my favorite parts about this month is how my social media feed is lined up with posts of gratitude. Hearing all the stories of thankfulness puts a spring in my step. tears down my cheeks and hope in my heart. Hope that, through the hard times, there is still so much to be thankful for.
But thankfulness is a hardfought choice. We are most inclined to behold our blessings after we’ve brawled with pain and loss. Our tears are often the cleansing agents that clarify our perspective, helping us see the bigger picture, the grander work at hand.
2020 has been an historic year holding heartbreak, fear, confusion, anger, loneliness…. I can only imagine the number of people in the world questioning, “If there is a God, is He good?” Some of us are clinging to our faith – if only by a thread – desperate to keep believing God IS still good – no matter what troubles we face.
The ring of the New Year is nearing closer. And with it, we have hope that things will be different. We yearn for a sense of normalcy. We want to give 2020 a big kiss goodbye and send it packing.
But I wonder…
- I wonder what we may want to keep the same because of this strange season?
- I wonder what this year has taught us that we may not have learned by going about business as usual?
- I wonder what we can give thanks for – even amidst all the tragedy?
We have long been encouraged to stop and remember God’s faithfulness. In Joshua, after the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, they did this by building a memorial.
(I’ve included a snippet of the story below, but you can read the whole story here.)
19 The people crossed the Jordan
on the tenth day of the first month.
Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho.
20 It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up
the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.
21 Then Joshua said to the Israelites,
“In the future your children will ask,
‘What do these stones mean?’
22 Then you can tell them,
‘This is where the Israelites crossed
the Jordan on dry ground.’
23 For the Lord your God dried up the river
right before your eyes, and he kept it dry
until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea
when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.
24 He did this so all the nations of the earth
might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful,
and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
J O S H U A 4 : 1 9 – 2 4 N L T
Here’s the thing about 2020:
- Our children will remember not being able to go to school or church or to see their friends.
- They’ll remember having to wear masks and be socially distanced.
- They’ll remember an entire summer having to stay sheltered in place.
But let’s also help them remember the blessings of this season.
- Let’s remember spending more time as a family.
- Playing games. Taking walks. Telling stories. Praying together.
- Being more intentional with the precious time we have.
What blessings has this season held for you? Write them down. Pass them on. We need the hope of these blessings as we navigate the lingering uncertainties tomorrow holds.
If you’re looking for some tangible help in building your own memorial, may I suggest a beautiful book I’ve been reading by Michele Cushatt called Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves.