Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at BRF,
              Peace and grace be with you. This is a season of thanksgiving. The leaves have changed, many have fallen from the trees. The air is crisp. Winter is knocking on autumn’s door. This is a time when we gather with family to have good food and fellowship. We often have lists of what we are thankful for and we share them around the table.
It seems like we have come back to normal and people have traveled to see nature and meet their friends and family members who they didn’t meet for a while due to the Covid pandemic.
               As you might know, however, we still see many people around us who were sick, as Covid-19 variants have arrived. I anticipate we cannot but live together with viruses for a while, even though we expected to live freely once we developed vaccines for Covid-19. I have a lot of friends who are hurting right now financially, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Children seem to walk away from the Lord. Also we still hear sad news that war continues between Ukraine and Russia and inflation rate increases high worldwide.
How can one be thankful when things are difficult? It is not easy for most people to be thankful in the middle of tough times. We cannot be satisfied 100 % of the time as long as we live here. We are not perfect and our world is filled with uncertainty and imperfection. Everything in life is fragile.
                I encourage you to remember the Prophet Habakkuk who envisioned losing things vital to their economy: Habakkuk 3:17-18, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls.”  Yet this prophet says “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Where does his gratitude come from?
First of all, the name of Habakkuk means to embrace or to cling. We see him fighting hard to cling to his faith in God in the face of trying circumstances. And he knows and believes that God is sovereign and is salvation. He confesses, “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). He trusted in God for what he doesn’t understand, and waited confidently for God to prove Himself in the end.
                 I invite you to recall the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Despite the pilgrims losing half their members, they gave thanks to God. There is a saying that “Happiness is not about getting what you want all the time, it is about loving what you have and being grateful for it.”
It is true that we live in unprecedented times. But our life itself is uncertain. Only God is certain and is in control. As Christians, we trust in God’s goodness that He will bring salvation.
                 Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We see this hope through the lens of faith. Gratitude is at the heart of the Christian faith.
                  I invite you to be thankful for God and for what you have now and pray for all of you to live abundantly in God’s grace.

 

Love in Christ,
Pastor Inwha Shon