A reason to give thanks

Don Baumann

Don Baumann


At this time of year, our expectations for seasonal happiness are captured by classic paintings by Norman Rockwell and other popular artists. While we may love our families, it’s doubtful our gatherings match those illustrations!

For many, such holiday anticipations only amplify their loneliness. The pandemic hasn’t been kind to our mental well being, either. A report by the research organization Mental Health America documents a exponential increase in feelings of isolation and anxiety, along with depression and even thoughts of suicide during the last half of 2020. (Source: https://mhanational.org)

Add to that a glumness brought on by decreasing daylight, and this supposedly cheery time of year can actually drag us down.

People with a strong faith in God can experience times of discouragement, even depression. King David chronicles many such instances in the psalms. In Psalm 13, David journeys from anxiety to hope in a memorable way.

He begins by talking to God about his situation— that’s a good thing to do! He’s feeling restless, discouraged, defeated.

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13:1-2 NIV)

Despite his isolation and depression, David recognizes the only way out is through the Lord Himself. Only He can make the changes on the inside that will alter David’s reaction to his circumstances.

Asking difficult questions of God is a healthy thing to do. First, He is there: God listens and cares. Second, while we may not receive the answers we seek, we speak to the One who knows and watches over us. The answer is not always found in getting what we want, but in knowing Him.

Look on me and answer, LORD my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him, ”

and my foes will rejoice when I fall. (vv 3-4)

David expresses urgency and cries out to the Lord for an answer. None of us want whatever is letting the air out of our balloon to have the final say in our life. Our enemies can be our recurring, persistent, and anxious thoughts, along with that nagging feeling of hopelessness.

There’s no indication of how long David waits between his cry to God and the answer… but God does respond!

But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing the LORD’s praise,

for he has been good to me. ( vv 5-6)

In some inscrutable way, God reminds David of His “unfailing love” for him. God loves each of us personally as well. We know this since God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to live as our example, then offer Himself as the perfect Substitute for each one of us. His death on the cross paid for our sins and for us as sinners. Through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven: we receive a new life now and the certain hope of eternal life!

Whether or not our holiday circumstances meet anyone’s expectations (especially our own), we have reason to give thanks in almighty God’s unfailing love. May the joy of knowing Him fill your hearts, now and throughout the year.

Don Baumann is Outreach Pastor at Hilltop Community Church


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