There is an old fable that goes something like this: There was a time in the course of the celestial universe when Satan and his demons went to war with God, launched an assault on heaven and were able to not only take possession of heaven, but bind God with cords that could not be broken. Satan also placed cloth over the mouth of God, knowing that God’s words held great power.
For the next bit of time, Satan ruled and corrupted heaven. On earth, Satan’s ways dominated the land, causing strive, death and misery.
After what seemed, or may actually have been, thousands of years, Satan approached God and asked what he thought about his powers. The Lord extended his hand and held up one finger. At first Satan didn’t understand what God was trying to say. Then he asked, “Are you trying to tell me you want to say one word?”
God shook his head.
Letting down his guard because of his boastful pride, Satan decided one world couldn’t do much. He approached God., but before he did anything, Satan reiterated the bargain, “Only one word.”
The Lord agreed.
The gag was taken off. Then, to the surprise and confusion of Satan, he saw a smile spread across the face of the God. Before Satan could change his mind, God spoke his one word, “Jesus!”
At that moment the events of Jesus’ ministry unfolded in both heaven and earth. As healing and wholeness was being restored, Satan found himself unable to stop the power of the one word that had come from the mouth of God. Soon Satan found himself thrown out of heaven and his kingdom on earth was thwarted.
The reason I share this story with you is because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and for many of us it is going to be a different than usual and one that I know the circumstances will make many of you sad. Family will not gather like normal. I know in our home it will be just Ann and I, as both our kids have decided to stay secluded in the midst of the Covid-19 surge.
It’s going to be a different Thanksgiving for so many families this year because someone in their family is missing due to the powers of Covid – more than 230,000 deaths in the United States alone.
For most of us, it’s been a very tough year, making it more difficult to find things to be thankful for: We can’t meet with family. We can’t gather as a community like we desire. Even at church we have to stay six feet away from one another. Covid continues to spread and it’s hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel at this point. Our political system continues to be shaken by those who place power above protocol and ego above the needs of the nation. Our schools open and close and open and then close again – so hard for families. People are laid off and small businesses are suffering.
I could go on, and you could add another dozens of things to the list of difficulties – but the point is clear: this Thanksgiving many will be struggling to figure out why they should be thankful.
That’s where the story comes in.
No matter what we face. No matter how difficult the circumstances. No matter how frustrating things are. No matter how powerful death seems, remember this one word today: JESUS!
Give thanks for Jesus, for in his life, his death, his resurrection, his ascension to the throne of heaven, and his promised presence, we will overcome all the things that try to throw our lives into chaos and darkness.
Yes, we have Jesus! – Thanks be to God!
~ Blessings, Dan