Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. -Luke 17:15-16a
Anxiety levels have almost universally risen after this election cycle. I have had different people tell me about feeling frustrated, grieved, uncertain, and afraid. Even those who should be celebrating their candidate tell me about feeling polarized and shamed by friends and family. It is not a time when many people feel particularly thankful.
Yet, it is precisely in this milieu that we are confronted by a call to thanksgiving. The beauty of thanksgiving is that it is a discipline that is not dependent upon feelings. The beauty of thanksgiving is that it may well be the perfect antidote to the slippery place of fear and anxiety where so many find themselves.
At its core, thanksgiving asks us to pause and recognize the places where God is at work around us. In our text for today, ten lepers were healed of their skin diseases by Jesus Christ. They were freed from the social and physical margins of society. All moved in this place of blessing to reconnect with family and community. Only one paused and recognized the work of God in his life. Only one moved in that recognition to connect with Jesus in thankfulness.
Thankfulness changes us within our circumstances. When we have recognized the ways that God is present and blessing our lives, our eyes become opened to seeing God’s Presence with us moving forward. Like the lepers in our text, we re-enter community. But like the one leper, we do so emboldened by faith. We know that Jesus’ grace and Presence moves with us.
Thankful people see God.
Dear Jesus, we confess the ways that anxiety, fear, and doubt cloud our vision. We choose to look to you now. We ask that you would open our eyes to the blessings that testify to your love, grace, mercy, and Presence in our lives. We thank you that you are always with us. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.