Reasons to Be Thankful When Depressed
By all accounts, 2020 has been a bad year: pandemic, lost jobs, riots, a contested election, restrictions on freedom. Rejoice!
It’s Thanksgiving Day in the US, one of the (usually) happiest days of the year. Family, guests and the best feast of the year are usually anticipated. This year, though, has been downright depressing. A pandemic continues to flare up around the world. Governors are restricting travel, requiring masks, limiting how many people can gather in a home. Breadwinners may be having to explain why there’s not enough in the bank to support the usual family feast. Businesses and restaurants are laying off employees, and some may close for good. A relative may have died of COVID-19. Added to all those troubles, you may dread facing arguments over politics at the dinner table.
Staying thankful this year can seem like a chore. For those who might be more ready to make a list of complaints instead of blessings to count, here are some points to add to the gratefulness column. (See also 27 Nov 2014 for more on gratitude.)
Can you breathe? Earth’s atmosphere has just the right combination of gases to support complex life.
Are you safe on the ground? Earth’s magnetic field is protecting you from a barrage of high-energy ‘bullets’ that could kill us.
Can you see? Molecular scissors cut up chromosomes in cells of the lenses in your eyes so that light can shine through unobstructed.
Can you hear? Your ears can detect sound intensity over twelve orders of magnitude (a trillion to one) far greater than any man-made instrument.
Are you alive? Quadrillions of molecular motors are spinning at 6,000 rpm to deliver the energy your cells need.
Can you move any body part? You are exercising mind over matter, a huge mystery in philosophy.
Are you conscious? That’s another unsolvable mystery for materialists. It gives prima facie evidence of the supernatural.
Do you have children? The growth of a human being from a single-celled zygote to a baby “is by far the most complex phenomenon on Earth, far more complex by orders of magnitude than the assembly of the most complex human artifact ever built.” (Denton, The Miracle of the Cell, p. 115).
Is your body functioning? That’s because you have so much DNA it would reach to the sun and back 18 times. It’s continuously being translated into proteins that keep you humming. You are generating 100 watts of electrical power just sitting up.
Is your brain functioning? You are using the most complex arrangement of matter in the known universe, more powerful than all the computers in the world put together.
Are you basically healthy right now? Today, your immune system repaired 50,000 DNA defects that might have caused cancer.
Are you able to digest food? Ten times more microbes than your own body cells assist in the process.
Can you walk? Your feet have steering wheels.
Can you get up without getting dizzy? Rocks inside your inner ears are helping proteins sense gravity, preventing vertigo.
Can you think of anything pleasurable about touch, hearing, taste, smell or sight? The mystery of qualia (sensations beyond what is explainable by physics) baffles neuroscientists. They add richness to art, music, motion, taste, touch and everything else humans love, which would otherwise be meaningless physical processes.
Does anyone love you? Your Maker does (John 3:16).
Would you like free food, perhaps some chicken soup for the soul? Have some (Isaiah 55)
1 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live….”
Have you been reconciled to God? You can be (Romans 5). God takes anyone who turns from sin and trusts in Him by faith.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Is there help in times of distress and trouble? Always. (Hebrews 13:5-6)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”