1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) – Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
It is hard to be THANKFUL when the very fabric of civilization, decency, and common respect for human life is being torn apart day by day. In this month alone we have witnessed the worse of humanity from police brutalizing minors to a massacre at a church. It is no way to properly explain or even begin to rationalize these horrendous events. I can only imagine the long-term trauma this may cause and the immediate ramifications, but even through it all, I remain THANKFUL.
How could I you may ask? I am THANKFUL because I know it could have been worse. No human life should be so disregarded and my heart goes out to all that have been affected, but I THANK God that grace and mercy was shown and that more were not put in the same predicament or worse. I am THANKFUL that someone exposed the treacherous acts and prayerfully, justice will prevail. I am THANKFUL that despite the overall depiction there are still law enforcement officials diligently protecting and serving the community in spite of the current characterization. I am THANKFUL because what was nine, could have been four times that! I am THANKFUL because you and I still have an opportunity to right the wrongs, make a difference, and better this world before we too reach our expiration date. You ask how I can still be THANKFUL and I say because there is still breath in my body.
Many will ask why would does God continue to allow so much hurt, pain, evil, and suffering and it is a question that goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. And the 21st Century didn’t start any better. There was 9/11 Syrian slaughters, Katrina, Colorado and Fort Hood shootings, and on and on and on and on and… Why? Christian author Lee Strobel summed it up as such, “Though suffering isn’t good, God can use it to accomplish good,” and as hard as it is to see any good in the midst of tragedy, God is truly working it out for our good. Faith is not always easy to follow or accept.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the mourning. Yes,it is spelled correctly. Mourning is the first step in healing and part of the grieving process and if we are going to heal as a country and as a community, we have to go through in order to come out on the other side. I am THANKFUL for the mourning that cleanses the soul, heals the heart, and leads to a renewed spirit. Joy does follow the mourning. Mourn as you must, but know it will not last always. After the mourning comes the rebuilding and we can build anew and greater.