“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:16-18
This might seem an unusual verse in such a time of crisis when our familiar routines and comforts are gone, our communities hurting and fearful and suffering seems to be all around. A friend reminded me earlier that we should not forget to praise God and be thankful but it’s hard when most of my prayers seems to be asking for protection and deliverance from this time of trial.
Thinking about thankfulness in dark times reminded me of the story of Corrie Ten Boom and the fleas. Corrie and her sister Betsy were in a concentration camp and were trying to think of things to thank God for - they too were looking at the Thessalonians verse. Betsy reminded Corrie that it says ‘in all circumstances’ and not ‘in all pleasant circumstances. Betsy thanked God for the fleas that were rife in their barracks. Corrie thought that her sister had got this wrong and that it was not possible to be thankful for fleas, she said not even God could make her grateful for a flea. They discovered much later that the guards were reluctant to come into their barracks because of the fleas. This gave them more freedom to move around the barracks and also to share the Bible with fellow prisoners.
Now I’m not suggesting that the coronavirus is our ‘flea’ but it might be good to take a moment to look around at the blessings in our lives and praise God for them. Even in our darkest times there are still signs of God’s kingdom, he gives us hope and light and the promise of better times to come. The song I have chosen for today tells us that God’s love endures forever.
Forever is a long time that we can hardly fathom with our human experience but his love is bigger, stronger, more faithful and more all-encompassing than we could ever imagine. The coronavirus will not endure, our scientists are working on vaccines, treatments and ways to kill the virus and they will succeed. Whilst the outlook seems bleak at the moment this period is but a scratch on the surface of time and God has all of eternity to lavish his great love on us all. He is holding each one of us in his arms as we journey through together. Rejoice!