“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I will give thanks to Him.” – Psalm 28:7 (New Revised Standard)
As we pause amid the many troubles and trials that have come to be 2020, it is good for us to give thanks. The psalmist finds help, help for the troubled spirit, by turning to the Lord with a heart full of trust and thanksgiving. There is something therapeutic about giving thanks.
I remember a study from several years ago that identified the practice of ending each day by listing three things for which you are grateful. That practice, as simple as it sounds, was discovered to be a key ingredient to feeling happier. Taking time to give thanks on an ongoing basis can make us happier people. Pausing to give thanks for the blessings we have, even as we are plagued with the fallout of a persistent pandemic and a polarizing politic. Even as we struggle with disappointments and difficulties surrounding our work, our school, and our family traditions. Even as we carry the burdens of grief, anger, discouragement, and fatigue. Even though we are living through these hard times, there is still help.
My testimony is that there is so much for which to be thankful. Having completed all 53 ZOOM charge conferences, I can attest that in every place there are stories of blessings that are flowing into the lives of our churches and through the lives of our churches into our communities and even to the far reaches of the world. In the midst of the pandemic, the economic downturn, the racial justice struggles … through it all, God has helped us to see the path of goodness and mercy.
It may not be the solution to all the problems, nor the cure for dis-ease, but it can help. Giving thanks is therapeutic. It brings relief by reorienting our perspective away from all that is troublesome to recognize how much is good. So, as we come to this season of Thanksgiving, no matter how different it ends up being for us, my prayer is that we remember the healing effects of gratitude. As we trust God with the big picture, can we also find help for our pressing concerns simply by stopping and counting our blessings, naming them out loud or writing them down, and lifting them up to God in praise?
“So I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I will give thanks to God.”
Grace and Peace,