Chantal Peterson, OneLife alum, responds to the coronavirus pandemic with one of OneLife’s core values, Attitude of Gratitude. Be encouraged and inspired by her perspective as she reminds us of God’s unchanging goodness and looks to Him for hope.
Choosing Gratitude in the Midst of Coronavirus
At the snap of divine fingers, the course of certainty shuddered then vanished altogether from view. Swept into the whirlwind of confusion, those things we treasured—stability, predictability, constancy, and rhythm—collided and each shattered into a thousand pieces. Our once shimmering reality had broken. And here we find ourselves staring at the tiny fragments, much like a child when their prized birthday balloon suddenly pops. In these uncertain times, God is still the same good, good God of three weeks ago, just as the popping of that balloon does not undermine the goodness of the child’s parent. And because of this, we can express thanks in a God more stable than our circumstances. How are we to embody boldness in these fearful times? The answer lies in expressing gratitude in who God is and what He has already done, a central value of OneLife.
Gratitude (thankfulness) shows that we believe in a God who is bigger and more powerful than whatever adversity may come. In this way, “breaking news,” framed in a larger story, God’s Story, will leave us unbroken. We begin to see that God is bigger than quarantine, bigger than empty toilet paper shelves, bigger than being laid off, bigger than online classes and empty campuses, bigger than social distancing, bigger than the coronavirus. In other words, we can see all the uncertainty around us and still give thanks to God for his blessings—blessings like farmland, snow-capped mountains, the morning songs of the birds, coffee that is still just as good, smiles on faces we love that persist in these times, laughter, music, and hugs. These things, although they could have changed, they haven’t. And one thing even bigger than these pleasures is the God who gave them. Our God certainly isn’t changing. Or leaving town. Or entering quarantine. Or stuck behind closed borders. He is still good and He still delights to give us good gifts.
Giving thanks is a way to choose joy. And because the words we say become the reality we live in, let’s start reframing our reality by believing in a bigger Story and a bigger God and allowing this belief to give us grateful hearts and words. Let’s toss gratitude and kindness like confetti. Yes, our prized birthday balloon may be in a hundred pieces at our feet. But the day is not yet over. There is cake coming. There is hope coming, carried by the Giver of Life Himself. And believing this in our minds and hearts enables us to act upon it with our words and our hands. In this way, being thankful in these times is the best way for us to be brave.