“In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I Thessalonians 5: 18
Angst is especially designed to bring to our attention to those things that cause us to experience anxiety, dread or fear. Thanksgiving 2020 comes to us with a backdrop of multiple pandemics that give us angst. The corona virus COVID-19 pandemic has totally interrupted the normal routines of people over the world. Efforts to return to normal in schools and restaurants are backfiring. The fall surge of the virus is obvious by the sharp increase in infections and deaths. Four hundred years of racial oppression and injustice systemically persists like a cancerous pandemic present in every sector of our American society. The astounding numbers of poor and poverty-stricken persons is another pandemic that has been revealed. The figures for the unemployed grow, and many closed small businesses will not return. This revelation also shed light on the inequality of help and assistance to those without resource to face this crisis. The awful level of disparities is drastically demonstrated by those negatively impacted or hit with the virus is embarrassing. African Americans account for approximately twenty percent of deaths related to the virus and our Hispanic brothers and sisters make up thirty-three percent of related deaths. Another recognized pandemic is the confusion produced by a nation so politically divided and polarized along party lines stoking further schisms and conflicts. The earth groans in travail in pandemic proportions with numerous gigantic forest fires burning out of control; hurricanes season comes sooner and lasts longer seriously effecting the gulf coast and the entire eastern seaboard; early snow storms, tornadoes and floods are crying out for climate justice.
This is surely enough to give anyone the angst. Persons directly or indirectly touched by any one of the forementioned pandemics may experience extreme nervousness, emotional turmoil, despair and helplessness. With all of this going on people will have anxiety about life, pressures in society and personal circumstances. Angst enables us to realize the frailty of our own existence and that so much is out of our control. However, this realistic look at life sparks cathartic opportunity for these issues to be addressed and called out. The Poor Peoples Campaign is a revived fifty-two-year-old project challenging the wealthiest nation in the world to care for the least of these among us. The BLACK LIVES MATTER movement is more relevant now than ever, it is time to change the narrative of racial thinking in America. These movements and others like them need our advocacy, resource and prayers.
There is another movement that is present in the mix of all these pandemics that produce so much angst. The movement of the Holy Spirit gives faith to fainting hearts and hope to those in despair. The gospel message of faith for the living of these days needs our advocacy, resource and prayer. I thank God for faith to believe that nothing is too hard for God. When Paul said, “in everything give thanks,” he meant everything. To thank God in everything is to give God a chance to work in every situation to bring into fruition His divine and saving will. During these bad times it is still good to find something to thank God for. The wellspring of our faith is our thanksgiving to God for His unspeakable gift, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank God in the face of adversity, it demonstrates a confidence that all things work together for our good. Thank God in the face of these pandemics, it tells God that your faith will not falter because as vast as this disease is, all things are possible and “this too shall pass”. Thank God for the complexities of your circumstance, it shows confidence that with God “troubles don’t last always”. Thank God for political confusion and social unrest, the strongholds of Satan are destined to fall. Thank God for bringing you through dangers seen and unseen. Thank God for healing your body when you were sick, He did it before and He can do it again! Thank God for the financial crisis He brought you through, it is no secret what God can do. Thank God for the scientist, researchers, doctors and nurses waging a hard fight against COVID-19, for the vaccine to be discovered soon and very soon. Thanksgiving is God’s will for those who believe, especially in hard time. Jesus was thankful for every opportunity to do God’s will. Even though it cost His life, we may be thankful for only a resurrected Christ can offer abundant life and everlasting life to all who believe.
Andre Crouch, in a verse of “Through It All”, helps us to allow our thanks to conquer our angst:
“I thank God for my mountains,
and I thank Him for my valleys.
And I thank Him for the storms
He brought me through.
For if I never had a problem,
I would never know that faith could solve them.
I would never know what faith in God could do.”
The spirit and attitude of thanksgiving, a good Christian quality and trait, is a blessing. It soothes our doubts and calm our fears. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Let your thanks conquer your angst.
Timothy M. James