Bill and Gloria Gaither have written many wonderful Christian songs.
One that Gloria wrote in the late 1960’s came while she was expecting a child. The couple was going through some terrible problems: Bill had been seriously sick, and their music had been attacked as not being spiritual.
On New Year’s Eve, Gloria tells us, “I sat alone in the darkness thinking about the rebellious world and all of our problems - and about our baby yet unborn. Who in their right mind would bring a child into a world like this?”
She was at the height of her fear and then she said, “I can’t quite explain what happened in that next moment, but suddenly I felt released from it all. The panic that had begun to build inside was gently dispelled by a reassuring presence and a soft voice that kept saying, ‘Don’t forget the empty tomb, don’t forget the empty tomb.’ Then I knew I could have that baby and face the future with optimism and trust for I had been reminded that it was all worth it just because He lives.”
We have all had a time where we experienced something that didn’t go right. This entire year can perhaps be placed in this category. If you are alive and breathing then there is a 100 percent chance that, at some point in your life, you have had to come face to face with the evil that is present in this world.
When I worked as a medic on an ambulance, I saw people in their worst possible moments. The most hopeless feeling one can have is not being able to help someone who is at the lowest of the low.
There is one aspect that I learned very quickly in that line of work, and it applies to all us: There is nothing we can do about the fact that evil exists in this world. Even though there was nothing I could do about the fact that someone was experiencing the worst moment of his/her life, I could address the signs and symptoms that this moment was presenting. There was never a solution or a drug that was the end-all fix-all, but on every call, live-saving measures were taken.
Even in the midst of perhaps the worst year of our lives, we have a reason to be thankful today.
When Jesus died on the cross, life-saving measures were taken. God loves every single one of us so much that he would come and take the shape of His own creation, and through Jesus he would walk the dirty paths, feel the raw emotions, suffer the excruciating pains, and die a humiliating death. And God would do it all so that we might have an opportunity to love God back.
Remember all that bad news we talked about?
Our world seems to be so consumed with bad news that we often forget to report on the good news. We in the church often talk so much about the cross that we forget to talk about what happened after the cross. The good news doesn’t stop at the cross, in fact it gets so much better than that. The main reason we have for being thankful today is what came despite the cross. Because he died is not the end of the story, which means there is redemption, there is forgiveness, and bad news will never have the final say. We can be thankful that we can face these uncertain days, just because he lives!
Because he lives, I can face tomorrow; because he lives, all fear is gone; because I know he folds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.
Gaither, William and Gloria, 1971 William J. Gaither, Inc.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for facing the cross, and then rising, for us. Help us to center our Thanksgiving around you, that in all we do, we do so out of our love for you, and our desire to give you all the glory. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.
Scriptures: John 3:14-17, John 14:19