A man stole the wallet of the Bible commentator Matthew Henry. As he reflected on the incident, Henry said, “Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” Unquestionably, Henry’s attitude is one we need, particularly this year.
As 2020 began, we probably had many plans for our lives. Perhaps there were graduations to be celebrated, vacations to exotic places, and many other family celebrations on our calendars. By the beginning of March, however, things turned bleak and we all had to postpone or cancel our planned engagements altogether. While many missed walking the aisle to receive their diploma or to join their life to their new spouse, others had the sad and painful reality of not being able to walk down the aisle for their loved one’s funeral. We hear statistics that reveal the divorce rate is growing in many parts of the world and that abuse is increasing in many homes. The pandemic has affected our lives in ways we never imagined.
As we approach Thanksgiving, we’d like to invite you to develop a Matthew Henry attitude. Perhaps we can reframe what has taken place this year and turn it from a negative to a blessing. For instance, we may say: While I was not able to attend my graduation, still I finished my studies, received my diploma, and am continuing to pursue my dreams.Others might say: While we were not able to enjoy the vacation we had planned, we have been able to spend lots of quality time with our family which sometimes our work or school does not afford us. Or we may even consider: While I was not able to be at my loved one’s funeral, I will always have them in my memories as I ponder the good times we did enjoy together. Now, they rest pain free until Jesus returns and gives us the best family reunion ever.
How can you reframe your circumstances of 2020? Perhaps you can begin by making a list of the things that you have that you wouldn’t if the pandemic had not invaded your life. For instance, include in your list more time at home to play with your kids, more time with your spouse, the discovery of a new hobby, or more time to exercise. You may also add to the list loved ones that you have missed as the pandemic has made you think more about the people in your life who matter the most. Yes, there are many people and parts of daily life that we took for granted before the pandemic so now, let’s stop and give thanks. Finally, add to the list the changes you may want to make once the pandemic is over. For instance, being intentional about the amount of quality time you spend as a family versus time spent with electronic devices and media. Plan quality time together as you read, study, worship, exercise, get involved in the community, or participate on a short mission experience.
The pandemic may have robbed us of many things, and precious people, but, as Matthew Henry learned, we don’t have to allow circumstances to rob us of our attitude, gratitude, or thanksgiving!
— NAD Family Ministries directors Claudio and Pamela Consuegra