‘Thankfulness in Difficult Times’
by: Pastor Dermoth Baptiste
President, SVG Mission of SDA
I believe it goes without saying, that for most of us, this year, 2020 will go down in history as one of the most challenging, uncertain and unpredictable periods in our existence. The unsolicited intervention of the Corona Pandemic has cast a dark shadow on lives, homes, communities and countries around the world. As a result, internal turmoil, broken promises, unfulfilled expectations, lost jobs, scarcity of food, reduced income and lack of other resources can darken the joys and dampen the spirit this Advent season. Regardless of our circumstances and irrespective of our conditions, it is incumbent that we find it in our hearts to praise God for His marvelous condescension into human space to show us the amazing love of the Father. We can raise our ‘Ebenezer’ for His grace that saves us, His hand that guides us, His food that sustains us and His protection that surrounds us.
The fact that we are alive today is not because of the alarm clock that wakes us up every morning, neither is it because of our good deeds or our hard work. We are alive today because of the goodness of God and His tender mercies which are new every morning. Sometimes in difficult times, we may not feel like being thankful, but it is when we are down and out that we need to fight against feelings, push against the crowd and like the woman with the issue of blood reach out in faith and touch the hem of His garment. ‘Now, today’ is always the right time to be thankful to Almighty God for His goodness and mercy that follow us all the days of our lives. Gratitude should never be dependent on our situation, but should ever rely on the One who changes not, who created us for His own glory and puts eternity in our hearts. So if you find yourselves this Christmas battling with loneliness, betrayal, despondency or depression which may be crushing you to the core, now is the time to transfer those negative emotions on Jesus, the burden bearer and become more intentional about praise and thanksgiving.
The COVID-19 may very well be the great game changer of the 21st century, threatening our very survival, even as vaccines are being developed and rolled out to mitigate against this existential threat. We give God thanks that SVG is still one of the low-risked countries in the world for which we must be appreciative to the Government and Health authorities for their management so far.
As we celebrate another Christmas and stand on the horizon of a New Year, let us not become overwhelmed with feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, powerlessness and self-doubt. Rather let’s trust our lives and our future in the hands of our loving, caring, compassionate Savior who condescended from the realms of Glory to rescue us from eternal death, damnation and destruction. The story of Christmas reminds us that we are not defined by positions, possessions or pestilences; rather we are defined by the infinite love of God who bids us come unto Him and find salvation fully and completely.
Corona, dengue or death do not have the final say in our existence; God does! I therefore encourage everyone this season to choose faith over fear, prayer over pain, praise over panic, assurance over anxiety, worship over worry and hope over hopelessness. On behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I wish every Vincentian at home or in the diaspora a peaceful, quiet and reflective Christmas holiday and a Spirit-filled, prosperous and productive New Year.
May the blessings of Almighty God rest upon you, your family, home and community!