Journals
Posted on November 21, 2020 ¡Gracias!
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Without doubt 2020 has been a year like no other. In one way or another we all have been impacted by the global havoc brought about by the covid-19 virus; violence and death fueled by sin (racism, hatred and selfishness); and the destruction caused (on this side of the world) by the forces of nature (e.g., hurricanes, flooding, etc.). Dark clouds still loom over the sky, yet we affirm:

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging…
…The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46:1-3, 11 (New International Version)

As we struggled with the confinement and anxiety through the last few months, Denise designed for our family a “Gratitude Board.” Each one of us was to write on the board something for which we were grateful. Our family discovered that this simple exercise brought joy, laughter, and diminished anxiety as our family could see how we’ve been blessed despite losing the regular rhythms of our lives.

Expressing gratitude in trying times – when health fails, a love one unexpectedly passes away (and we can’t be there), and/or when goals, dreams are not fulfilled – doesn’t come naturally. It must be exercise intentionally.

In Spirituality of Gratitude, Joshua Choonming Kang makes an insightful observation about how gratitude generates endurance for trying times:

 

 

“There is a close relationship between endurance and gratitude, for the strength to endure suffering comes from gratitude… In order to endure well, we need the power of acceptance. No one enjoys suffering. However, if the suffering is somehow embraced, then it can become a precious treasure… It is gratitude that can transform our sufferings into blessings. Sufferings invite pain, but if we befriend the sufferings and consider them learning opportunities, they lose their power in our lives and can result in a thing of beauty.”

 

 

In my short life, I’ve noticed that during difficult and challenging times God’s love, grace, and care are manifested and experienced through the actions of His body, His people. We’re so grateful that in the last few months, we have been encouraged to share with churches in West Virginia, Colorado, California, and Puerto Rico.  

In this special season of thanksgiving, we thank God for family, health, provision and so much more. And we thank our Lord for you and your willingness to join us in this journey through your prayers and generous support.

May our Lord continue to shower you and your family with his tender mercies, unlimited grace, and unfailing love.

With much gratitude and love,

Juan & Denise