Today's meditation comes from Rev Lorette.
Finding the silver lining.
When I consider this verse from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. In these strange days of lockdown, social distancing I like everyone are having to find new ways of living and working and this verse reminds me at least to look up and away from the never-ending news of Coronavirus.
I have been astounded by the silver linings that are in people’s lives because of these strange times.
There are those, who having more time at home have more energy or whose prayer lives have improved because they don’t have all the normal everyday distractions of rushing here there and everywhere. For others unable to leave their homes to go shopping, have found themselves surrounded by others who will shop for them, neighbours have become friends, strangers have become neighbours.
There are those who are using this time to use their skills and abilities some of which haven’t been used for quite some time. Sewing machines have been in use, as have ovens and baking skills, worship services have been prepared and shared, children’s craft projects for desperate parents!! The ministry of phone calls, emails, letters is phenomenal and those that have been in the background before have found their place through this valuable ministry.
For some like myself we suddenly have the time to read the books that have been collecting dust on the bookshelves because all of a sudden there is more time at home and a lot less time in the car.
Inevitably, there is also another side to the story, funerals with only a dozen people able to attend, phone calls instead of seeing people face to face, job and money worries, loneliness, poor housing, family disputes and an uncertain future, but read again Paul’s line in his letter to the Thessalonians, Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Did you notice the word ALL. Give thanks in all times, not when things are going well, or the way we want, but ALL.
Now that’s a tough ask, I Know, I get it, I understand so how do we give thanks in all circumstances? Especially if our circumstances are horrible?
There is only one way. And Jesus both is the way (John 14:6) and shows the way.
It is in the quiet events in an upstairs room in Jerusalem that Jesus shows us the way. Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it and gives it to his disciples saying ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19).
Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.
Thank you, Father, that my body, symbolized by this bread and I am about to be (momentarily) damned by your wrath (Isaiah 53:10) so that you will receive supreme glory in being able to forgive undeserving sinners (Philippians 2:11) and I will share eternally full joy (John 15:11; Psalm 16:11) with hundreds of millions of forgiven sinners made righteous through my sacrifice (Isaiah 53:11).
Jesus’s thanks was not based on his present circumstances. He was about to endure the worst possible horror. He felt thankful to the Father for the grace and glory that was coming because of the cross and this gave him joy.
Jesus’s eyes were on his future joy. He got through the cross by not focusing on the cross but on the promised joy that would result from it.
That’s where God wants your eyes: on the future joy he has promised you.
Yes we will come out of lockdown and life will get back to some sort of normality, but I for one hope we don’t lose what we have learnt to do with and without during this time.
And what is your future joy?
The very best possible future you could ever imagine — if you will believe it, and these are only some of what we are promised.
You will have the free gift of complete forgiveness.
You will have all your real needs provided while on earth.
God will complete the good work he began in you.
You will be raised from the dead and never, ever die.
You will have God forever as your exceeding joy.
You are an heir of the kingdom with him.
Look to the Joy Set Before You
So right now you have trouble. That’s okay. Jesus said that you would And Jesus really understands.
“If the joy Jesus promises is real and you believe him, there’s no circumstance that can steal your thanksgiving.”