I Am Thankful

We live in such a strange time. We are bombarded on all sides by information… constantly. If we are honest, a large portion of this information is bad news.

I realize that I sound like a grumpy old man when I say that I avoid watching the news as much as possible. There’s just so much injustice, so much negativity, so much partisan fighting… it’s really a wonder we are not ALL stricken with generalized anxiety disorders.

I go through periods of wasting mental and spiritual energy on the people who run our country. I get angry, I make comments and finally I go back to a therapeutic apathy. After that cycle runs through, I remind myself that I have just wasted a lot of energy on a dying country and a dying world.

Faith is such a crucial part of any Christian’s life. Yet we’re so easily distracted from it. I admit that injustice is an easy distraction for me. Injustice comes in many flavors. It can be the gang-bangers in North St. Louis City or the thugs in Washington DC. It can be the NSA or the mainstream media or even hockey referees! I am distracted by all of these things.

Our Faith should guide us back to center. It should remind us of the things that truly matter. It should shine a light on the blessings we have. How invisible those blessings become to me when I’m distracted.

I believe in a loving and merciful God. His government never shuts down. He doesn’t need a debt limit increase. He is trustworthy and doesn’t make deceptive, partisan political statements. His Word is truth and His kingdom is forever.

But somehow I still lose my focus. Jesus made a way for me to be a citizen in the ultimate kingdom. He paid my debt in full. I have the hope of so much greater things than this declining America. So why am I not spending more energy promoting the Kingdom of God? Why spend so much time toiling for an America that’s days are numbered?

I think the answer lies in the lack of love in my heart. I have allowed the devil to steal love from me. I believe he does it every single day, piece by piece, little by little. We don’t even notice that the pieces are missing when the sun sets. But after a while, it becomes evident that we have lost our love and our compassion.

It’s during these times when we must meditate on the fact that while we were yet enemies of God, Jesus died for us. He who knew no sin became sin for us. The ultimate injustice. Nothing that our government or the North City gang-bangers do to us is as unfair as that.

As I’ve written before, a lot of this stems from my ‘moral high ground’. I don’t do the same evil things as you do so I feel you deserve harsher justice. But any sin separates us from God. And all of those sins were nailed to the cross. But we must be broken and repentant. If we cannot forgive our brothers and sisters on earth, how can we receive forgiveness from God?

It must be that we revisit our Faith every single day. Allow ourselves to be centered as often as possible. We must continually focus on the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Without that, none of us has any hope. We are none better than the next one. Our hearts have to be changed and the love of Christ will fill them. Love needs to become our first instinct.

Right now, I am in the midst of distraction. I’m angry and I’m tired. But I feel God is drawing me back and trying to remind me of what is truth. So I write these words out for myself.

Today I am going to focus on a couple of the blessings that I should be thankful for. I believe that we should do this every day. Everyone will have different thoughts, but I think we should make such mental notes of thanksgiving daily.

I am thankful that I do not have any children. This might sound strange, but as I indicated before, I am easily distracted by injustice. At this point in my life, the distraction of injustice only relates to things affecting me. I can’t imagine having a child that I adore and thinking that they would be going through the current US education system. Or that they would be inheriting what’s left of this country when they grow up. I can’t imagine the potential of harm to their lives that I could not defend them from. So I am thankful that I don’t have any children. No offense to those who do.

On a similar note, I am extremely thankful for my parents. I truly love them. They have had some health challenges in the past few years, but they are enjoying the retired life. I am grateful that I can randomly pop in and visit with them. I can go on fishing trips with Dad and talk about life with Mom. They have a lot of wisdom and they have done their best to make sure I was raised to know and trust the Lord. That gift alone is something that no amount of debt ceiling could buy. But I cannot play Scrabble with Mom anymore, I don’t like losing so much!

In closing, I just want to remind myself that Christians have struggled with distractions with their Faith forever. We are not the first Believers to live in a country with evil leadership. In fact, history is full of far worse situations that Christians endured and even died in. I need to remember that America is not important and it is not my home. My prayer is that people can begin to have their eyes opened to the Kingdom of the most high God and stop wasting so much energy on the country you reside in.

grace and peace,