Can someone be thankful while others suffer?

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The furnace in my house warms the air around me. The roof over my head keeps the winter weather outside. My dogs sleep in the lazy morning sun pouring in the windows. Outside, I can see a winter wonderland.

My daily devotion (Sacred Space) asks, “How do you feel?”

Content. Everything in my life is pretty good, and as I count my blessings, I remember how much some people suffer. The news is depressing. The West faces conflict with Russia over a potential Ukraine invasion. The migrant crisis continues along the southern U.S. border. The U.S. leads the world in incarceration rates[i] and gun violence.[ii] There’s certainly more bad news to erode my contentment.

We need to remember both the good and bad. Taking stock is healthy. By counting my blessings, I can foster a spirit of gratitude, and it helps me avoid taking for granted how lucky I am. I am not favored. God didn’t choose for me to be comfortable and others to be cold and homeless on this 28o F day. We are where we are for myriad reasons: cyclical poverty/wealth, family of origin, etc.

When I truly appreciate the good in the world, I feel good and have more energy to think about how to engage some of the bad news in the world. When more people try to find solutions for the terrible things facing humanity, we might succeed. If everyone is always forlorn, then we will be less likely to find solutions for the bad things we face.

Right now, I will keep counting my blessings, so that, in a little while, I will be ready to turn my attention to world problems. Following Christ means doing both.


[i] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2019-05-13/10-countries-with-the-highest-incarceration-rates

[ii] https://www.healthdata.org/acting-data/gun-violence-united-states-outlier

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