Happy Thanksgiving! My family has much to be thankful for, even in crazy 2020. We definitely had to scale back the celebrations, but it was as enjoyable as I can remember a Thanksgiving being. Maybe you were able to spend the day with family, too. Or maybe you were alone, and the day passed with only constant reminders of that. But, Christian, you are not alone. Let’s look to the Scriptures for encouragement.
Jesus, in his final words to the disciples recorded in Matthew 28:20, assured them that he will always be with them. It was a promise for them specifically, for the church generally, and for every Christian implicitly. How do we know? The same way we know that we are saved at all, with the down payment of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22), who dwells in us (2 Timothy 1:14 and others). Let us be comforted that, even if everything is taken from us, God will always be with us; after all, Emmanuel did not enter this world to die for his people, just to be distant after accomplishing that.
But maybe this is not enough. Maybe you know all this but still feel forsaken. Hear this promise: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 1:8). I know from experience that, sometimes, the last thing I want to do is read my Bible or pray. I also know from experience that things don’t get any better when I don’t. So let us, together, trust this promise, and draw near to him the best we know how, in prayer and with Bible in hand. Consider the book of Hebrews, which elaborates on the idea of drawing near, e.g. in Hebrews 4:16, which says: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Our salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone. But we do play a part in our sanctification, in our becoming more like Jesus. We have to draw near, and why wouldn’t we? In him is fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore (Psalm 16:11)!
These truths do not imply that we are on our own. Yes, God is enough, no matter what. But he designed us for community, for life together. If things have been difficult for you, dwell on these thoughts and draw near to him, but also reach out to other brothers and sisters in Christ. We help and care for each other, though imperfectly; we often forget and need to be reminded. Please reach out and remind us.