“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
I found myself very thankful this morning. During my morning cup of coffee I was reflecting on how this past week so many people in our area saw so much damage to their homes and/or really had to stretch resources to stay fed, or warm. Honestly, we had very few issues. One busted pipe, but even it was on the outside of our house, which means, no interior damage. Meanwhile I have a dozen videos of empty grocery shelves, flooded homes and hospitals, restaurants and homes without water, or water looking like something you don’t want me to describe in this post. So, obviously I am thankful.
However, I found myself feeling guilty about being thankful in that moment this morning. Perhaps it is my aversion to the “prosperity gospel movement,” or just my own experiences with God in terms of what is deemed as “good/favored/blessed/gifted” and what has felt more “abandoned/forgotten/punished.” I have been a part of so many prayers where we claimed God’s goodness in an attachment to our hoped outcome, and then found a way to twist our ask when things did not pan out.
I think we too lightly mention “give thanks in all circumstances,” (1 Thessalonians 5) and downplay “pick up your cross.” (Matthew 16) We look expectantly for Easters, as we absolutely should, but we prefer to bypass the Good Friday’s of our lives.
The challenge is to remember the Psalmist’s words each day. This is the day. This one. This great day, or this not so great day. This day might be one where many struggle, and at the same time others thrive. This day might bring loss. This day might bring gain. But this day still remains the day that the Lord has made.
Dependent upon your church baggage, what you were taught or how you were encouraged to engage with God, you might have some level of “if things are going well, God is with/for me, and if things are not going well, God is absent/punishing me.” Perhaps you were a part of a system where it was mostly about how God “felt.” Not that I think these different facets of God don’t make sense. I have experienced a felt presence of God that was the genesis of my life changing. But what I want is to challenge us to think of pockets of our life that we struggle to label “this is the day.”
Where might our concepts of how God moves and breathes among us be sectioning of certain aspects of our lives? If “this is the day,” is “all of the days,” how can we learn to rejoice and be glad in it? It may make the classic VBS song, “This Is the Day,” a little less cheery sounding, but it pushes us recognize the light within our darkness.
This is the day. I am thankful today that we went through last week with very little difficulty. Will I also be thankful when that is not the case, when, “this is the day,” is not quite as easy to say?