My Thankful List re: Social Distancing

“… giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 5:20, CSB

Certainly no one would have chosen COVID-19 or social distancing, given the option. No would would stare a global pandemic in the face and say, “this is good.” No, in itself this is not good. However, the God of the Ages is superintending all things, massaging purpose and meaning into the lives of His people as they traverse a world that is deeply and desperately scarred by the effects of sin. Even this evil day can and will be redeemed by those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus (Eph. 5:16).

“The God of the Ages is superintending all things, massaging purpose and meaning into the lives of His people as they traverse a world that is deeply and desperately scarred by the effects of sin.”

In light of all the complications this moment brings to bear on the church and on our world, there are some things for which I am becoming increasingly grateful to God. I thought it may be helpful to share my thanksgiving list for today:

  1. I am thankful for the extra time at home with my family. I have realized that much of our time together normally consists of going. Going to do something, to see something, to eat something, or to meet with someone. But with all non-essential travel cut out of our family life, we are enjoying more time together in these days of social distancing. Just this week we have fished together, played instruments and sang together, had meaningful theological discussions together, laughed together, cried together, prayed together, and so much more. For our increased time at home together as a family, I am thankful.
  2. I am thankful for technology and social media. How wise and how gracious is God that he has, over the past 20 years, developed platforms for digital communication and connection and made them so commonplace and so easily accessible that we can continue to worship together virtually at little to no cost?! In days past, when Christians and friends were socially distanced from one another, they were entirely left to themselves with no form of instant interaction. Normally I am very skeptical of social media and technology-based connections, but today I can’t help but think how good God has been to us that these tools for connection and encouragement are at all of our fingertips. For web-based connection through technology and social media, I am thankful.
  3. I am thankful for the innovative, can-do spirit of the church. Centuries of routine comfort carry the potential to produce slowness of innovation within God’s people. But as has been proven in every historical season of crisis, when the fire is turned up, God’s people start cooking. I’ve been so encouraged these past two weeks to see pastors, church communications and creative leaders, and others rise to the occasion of pushing through the impossible to make things happen. I am convinced now that Jesus’ church has some of the most innovative, most creative leaders on the face of the planet. Even the most rural of churches are finding ways to keep their people connected through this season of social distancing. The church is awesome! For the innovative, can-do spirit of the church today, I am thankful.
  4. I am thankful for denominations. I know, that’s so cliché, because I work for one. But seriously though, denominations that remain biblically based, missionally focused, and servant-heartedly led regularly prove their value in reaching the nations for Christ. Today, they are proving their value in new ways by serving their existing churches well through crisis. Denominational servants have been working overtime to make the right connections, provide needed resources, and encourage churches and church leaders to work together now more than ever before. They have built bridges between large churches and small churches, contemporary churches and traditional churches, city churches and country churches. This crisis has brought the faith family together in new ways. Denominations (particularly the SBTC/SBC) have proven to be of inestimable value in these days. For their servant-hearted, kingdom-minded faithfulness to the local church, I am thankful.
  5. I am thankful for songs of the faith. Old ones, new ones, fast ones, slow ones, deep ones, and simple ones. When I lay down at night and when I rise in the morning, songs of the Christian faith are ringing in my head these days. They are massaging the truths of Scripture into my spirit, and keeping my heart tuned to the frequency of God’s immeasurable grace. For songs of the faith, I am thankful.

The list could be endless. These are just five of God’s gifts for which I am particularly thankful today.

What’s on your list?

Grace and Peace,
Tony

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