Thankfulness In The Midst of Adversity

By Andrew Barnhart
Perspective - A life skill not nearly applied as often as it should be. It can be defined as “A particular attitude towards or way of regarding something - a point of view” or “A true understanding of the relative importance of things”.  

2020 has been a year that most of us would like to hurry up and forget. Many are ready to flip the calendar to better things ahead in 2021 - assuming that 2021 cannot possibly be worse!

One thing this year has allotted us (if we take advantage of it) is to refocus our time and energy on what’s really important in life. Perhaps less time on our job and more on our family, or a little less focus on our status in life and more focus on our health. Maybe this year has taught us to appreciate even more the person working at the grocery store, or our caretakers, and definitely our childrens’ teachers. Maybe going to church had become a little routine and now we value it a little more.

A believer has to apply perspective to any and all circumstances in life. Job was such a man who experienced a season of time in his life that tested his faith and his ability to apply perspective. Job lost property, family members (children), wealth, and his health. In the midst of all of this, Job asks a profound question. In response to his wife, Job asked out loud, “Shall we accept good from God, and not adversity?” (Job 2:10) In the midst of Job’s despair and suffering the Bible records Job “as having not sinned, by charging God with wrong.”

As hard and painful as it was during this time, Job acknowledged “that the Lord has given and has taken away: Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Instead of cursing the name of God, he blessed the name of God.

Having just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday in the midst of the year 2020, do I have the perspective that Job had in the midst of his trials? As a believer I am commanded to - “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I am to give thanks no matter the season of life I am in, what my circumstances are, or whether or not I feel like it. With the proper perspective, the believer can do so. Remembering that whatever we may be going through “is but for a moment” (trusting that God does see and understand and will reward perseverance). 

In 1897 a song by Johnson Oatman Jr. was written entitled “Count Your Blessings”. One of the great hymns ever written goes like this:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done.

It is easy to lose perspective when going through hard times. If we were to pause and list the things we are thankful for instead of dwelling on all the things that have happened this year, we would be surprised what God has done! 

As we begin to celebrate the Christmas season, we can remember the most important thing we have to be thankful for - “But when the fullness of time has come, God sent for His Son, born of a woman, born under Law, to redeem [to purchase a slave’s freedom] those under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:7)

If I view my life with the perspective that I am the adopted son of the King of Kings, then I can be thankful in all things...even a year like 2020.

1 Comment

Linda - December 2nd, 2020 at 9:09am

Love this, thank you Andrew.