Give thanks in all circumstances

It’s time once again to celebrate our nation’s independence! Will you do so with parades, picnics, parties or prayers? Will you gather with family or friends or maybe spend some time alone? There is much to be thankful for and few things are of greater benefit than giving thanks whenever and however possible.

Yet what about the things that make us miserable? Our nation actually has a misery index and it can be found at www.miseryindex.us. In the early 1970s an economic adviser to President Johnson came up with the idea. Arthur Okun simply said to add the unemployment rate to the rate of inflation and the number would tell us how awful the nation felt. In May our number was 8.43. Compare that number to the highest, 21.98 in June of 1980, and the lowest, 2.97 in July of 1953.

There is, however, a serious flaw with the index of misery. It focuses on what is really only one factor, the economy. It uses tunnel vision to single out one part of the myriad joys of living in our land. When we narrow our pleasures and focus to only one part of life we can become obsessed and addicted and lose our happiness.

For example, consider the pleasures of riding a bike. It is fun to get outdoors, grab some sunshine, get some exercise, go fast, view the scenery, and feel the wind in your face.

But some serious bikers have narrowed their pleasure to one thing: going fast. And so one rider posted his downhill time on the website Strava. On a downhill stretch in the Berkeley Hills area near San Francisco, on a route with many blind curves and a speed limit for cars set at 30 mph he posted the course record achieving a top speed of 49.3 mph on his bike.

A few days later another Strava user posted a time that beat him by 4 seconds. He then repeated his attempt 13 days later. He lost control, hit an SUV, flew 40 feet through the air and died a few days later in the hospital. Narrowing his pleasures to only one thing led to an obsession that could not be satisfied.

So it is with our nation and with life. A person can become so consumed with one failure or one loss or one disappointment that he or she loses all joy. Tunnel vision closes in and sunshine disappears. It can happen in a marriage, a job, a relationship or even in something as big as an entire nation.

This July 4 let’s pray for a widening of our pleasures. Let’s pray for a vision that is capable of seeing the whole picture. Give thanks for the good and pray for help to see it and for help to make it through the bad.

The advice of the Bible is well worth hearing at any time of the year.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:16-18.

 

Rick Cupp is Minister of the Kenai Fellowship, Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway, 283-7682. Sunday Bible Classes are at 10:00 a.m.; Worship 11:15 a.m. Wednesday meal is at 6:15 p.m.; Worship at 7:00 p.m.

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Thanksgiving

We at least have a good idea of what our political future looks like.

This is Arthur Vernon Watson at age 39, when he was transferred from the federal prison in Atlanta to the penitentiary on Alcatraz Island near San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Justice wasn’t elementary: Watson, Part 3

Anchorage probation officer Roy V. Norquist was monitoring Arthur’s movements and reported that he was pleased with what he saw

Cranberry sauce made from scratch with hand-picked berries makes a special holiday treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Foraging with love and gratitude

Gathered and prepared by hand, cranberries brighten a Thanksgiving feast

File
Minister’s Message: When the going gets tough…

Suffering as a Christian is not always a popular preaching topic.

Letitia Wright as Shuri in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Image courtesy Marvel Studios)
On the Screen: ‘Wakanda Forever’ picks up the pieces

“Black Panther” sequel grapples with grief and hope after franchise loses its star

Oxtails are cooked with onions, garlic and daikon. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A bowl full of medicine

Oxtail soup makes a healing winter meal

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Ride on!

Later this month, I’ll turn 49

Arthur Vernon Watson was 23 years old when he was incarcerated in San Quentin state prison in California. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Justice wasn’t elementary, Watson, Part 1

The Frolichs’ establishment, then called the Watson Motel, had been owned by Arthur Vernon Watson and had become a crime scene

Korean red pepper paste adds heat to this Mapo tofu recipe. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A spicy meal to burn away the sadness

This hearty meal can be adjusted to be as mild or spicy as you wish

Nick Varney
Thanksgiving memories of the unhinged kind

Let’s take a first look at the oncoming day of feasting

The first snowfall of the year arrives in Kenai, Alaska, on Oct. 25, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Minister’s Message: Delight in the wonder of winter

Seemingly overnight, we’ve transitioned from our summer playground to our winter lives