In 1990, Andraé Crouch penned the words to the song “Through It All.” He shares that through it all, he has “learned to trust in Jesus,” and he has “learned to trust in God.” The year 2020 was an unforgettable year filled with uncertainties and unexpected surprises. Many people in our churches and our educational system became ill. Some recovered and others died. Students and teachers quickly transitioned to remote learning. The sting of isolation and separation threatened to break us. The sadness and fear hovered over us like a dark cloud. Where could we go for a solution to our situation? What could we do? We hunkered down and placed our trust in God.
Even in this situation, did we have a reason to adopt an attitude of gratitude? Yes! Suleima Godinez, a teacher at Greater Boston Academy, said, “I am thankful for the community that surrounds my family and me. Their prayers gave us strength and hope that we would get better.” Leslie Colon, a teacher at Jackson Heights school, said, “I am thankful for the tireless efforts and time essential workers put in to help keep our cities running. I am thankful for allowing the members of my family who were affected by COVID-19 to recover and give their lives to Christ. I am thankful to God for allowing me to have my wedding in spite of the circumstances!”
As we entered into the 2020-2021 school year, many were thankful for their students returning and for an influx of students in their school. Yes, there are many reasons to be thankful. In spite of the circumstances, our educational system has learned to echo the words of David written in Psalm 9:1, which says, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds” (NIV).
Psychological research provides evidence of wonderful things that happen when we choose an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks makes us more resilient, improves our health, reduces stress, and strengthens our relationships. When we give thanks, God is pleased. His heart is full, and we free ourselves from the oppression and bondage of the darkness that surrounds us. An attitude of gratitude helps us to see the blessings in every situation, and this shifts our focus from what we were lacking to what we have in Jesus. Cultivating a spirit of gratitude helps us to know that we can:
Give thanks in all circumstances.
Rely and rest on God’s promises to never leave us or forsake us.
Appreciate the storms because storms come to make us stronger for the journey.
Trust God to always be by our side, and we will find
Inner peace as we shelter under His wings.
Thank God, for He is good.
Understand that God offers hope in all circumstances.
Decide to rely on God, and this leads to happiness because He is
Everywhere at all times. His watchful eye is on us and our families.
Through it all, we “Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son. And now, let the weak say, ‘I am strong;’ let the poor say, ‘I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us.’ Give Thanks!”—Henry Smith