“Though the Fig Tree Should Not Blossom” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Day of National Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 22, 2018

“Though the Fig Tree Should Not Blossom” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

A long time ago, as a young man, I decided to go backpacking in the Sierra Mountains of California. I had cousins who lived in Fresno, so I went out there and stayed with them for a couple days before heading up to the mountains. They had an above-ground swimming pool, and there were some fig trees right alongside the edge of the pool, within arm’s reach. So here I am, on a nice sunny California day, swimming around in a swimming pool, picking these delicious figs right off the tree and popping them into my mouth. Now for a city boy from Chicago, this was a rare treat! I tell you, it was easy to be thankful to God for his many blessings on a day like that, swimming around in a pool, picking figs off a fig tree.

But that raises the question: What about when there is no swimming pool and there are no figs to pick off a tree? What about when all the trees in California are burning to the ground, and the wildfires are taking a bunch of homes along with them? Can we still thank God on those days? Because, to be honest with you, there are a lot more days that are Midwest overcast than California sunny. There are more days now with achy knees than with young legs ready to go backpacking in the mountains. On days like these, can we still give thanks to God?

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Published in: on November 21, 2018 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Very Ferguson Thanksgiving” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, 9-11; 3:17-19)

Day of National Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 27, 2014

“A Very Ferguson Thanksgiving” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, 9-11; 3:17-19)

I’m sure many of us were watching on our televisions the other night when we saw what was supposed to be a peaceful protest in Ferguson suddenly and not unexpectedly turn quite unpeaceful. Looters started breaking store windows and stealing what they could get their hands on. Arsonists began to torch buildings and cars and burn them to the ground. Rioters were running wild and not much was being done to stop them.

Now suppose you were one of those business owners whose store was looted or burned. Or maybe you worked at one of those businesses, and now you don’t have a job. And here it is Thanksgiving. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “What do I have to be thankful for? Why did this happen to me? Why did God let this happen?”

Or let’s look at it from the other point of view. Suppose you were one who genuinely felt that the police officer should have been indicted and gone to trial. You sincerely believe that justice was not done in this case. You feel that the police do not treat everyone the same. You’re upset about it. And it’s Thanksgiving. And you wonder, “What is there to be thankful for? We’re still being persecuted unfairly.”

Whichever side of this case you find yourself on, this is not a happy week for our greater St. Louis region or for our nation. Unrest has been stirring in many cities across our land. And here we are at Thanksgiving. Indeed, here we are at the Day of National Thanksgiving. This holiday is specifically supposed to be about giving thanks to God for his blessings on our nation. And right now America seems to be at a low point. The economy is not great, race relations are not great, there’s rioting in the streets, Buffalo is digging out of tons of snow, and the polar vortex has arrived early and settled in for what looks to be a long cold winter. Is this anything to be thankful for? Well, today I want to submit to you that, yes, we do have much to be thankful for. Even when we’re having “A Very Ferguson Thanksgiving.”

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Published in: on November 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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