“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” Paul exhorts in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
2020 has been a year for the history books, and its closing leaves the world in a much different state than at its opening. The world is still rocked by a global pandemic; the U.S. is still churning with social unrest; the world is still recovering from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
The future is still uncertain. But in everything, we are called to give thanks. As Bob Jones University comes to the end of 2020 and the end of the fall semester, we have a lot to be thankful for.
First and foremost, we owe our thanks to God: God who gives us every good and perfect gift, starting with the gift of His Son and salvation by grace, through faith. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” Isaiah 41:10 says, and we have seen God’s presence in our lives and in the life of our University more than ever.
In a world of so much uncertainty, the life, love and safety of those dear to us is sweeter, but every bit as worthy of thanks to God as it has ever been. God has also equipped us to finish out this semester in person, an opportunity many colleges did not have this semester.
Second, we as students owe our thanks to the faculty and staff of the University. Through the hard work and planning of our administration, we have been able to have in-person classes and remain on campus. Through their diligence, we have minimized the risk of COVID-19 on campus and been given excellent support and care when showing symptoms or testing positive. From the DC workers pre-plating each meal to the custodial staff keeping everything clean to even the monitors reminding us to pull up our masks, we have been served by the staff of the University. Meanwhile, the faculty have gone to great lengths to maintain in-person classes, support each student and still deliver the quality education we have always received in the past.
Finally, we owe our thanks to our fellow students. This semester would not have been possible had the student body not pulled together to abide by COVID-19 protocols and support each other through words of encouragement, prayer and, of course, shared study notes.
Students have uplifted those in quarantine and isolation, helped each other through difficult classes and done their best to protect each other from the virus. For every mask worn, every surface wiped down and every kind word spoken, we say thank you.
In all things, give thanks. No matter how difficult this semester or this year has been, we have much to be thankful for. “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:1-3)