Published 10:27 am Friday, November 26, 2010
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1, NIV).
I pray that none of us will allow Thanksgiving Day to come and go without taking time to reflect upon the many reasons we have to be thankful unto God. The verse quoted above is a good place to begin as we recall and express gratitude for His goodness and everlasting love.
As I think back on the time we had together at church last week for our annual Thanksgiving meal, I recognize a number of very visible reminders of why I should be thankful.
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Included in those blessings was the evidence of the love of God that was there. I did not detect anybody trying to avoid anyone else; peace and harmony were there in abundance. That might be an easily overlooked matter, but it is of greater value than we often ascribe to it.
Psalm 133:1 points out a powerful truth: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
I noted also that I was blessed to have my family with me at that gathering—Gale, our two daughters and our three granddaughters. Not only were they there, but they were there in health, strength and clarity of mind. Mallory and Jaleah were running around with the other church children, having a great time, and little three-month-old Addyson was being passed from person to person with her eyes open wide as she absorbed the new world that she just came into. The smiles that she interjected were priceless.
As I sat at the table, enjoying an abundance of outstanding food, I was made aware of several tremendous blessings from God upon those at just that one table.
It was such joy to see my precious wife there, almost completely recovered from a recent surgery. And for myself, there has been no recurrence of cancer for more than five years.
Across from me sat one of the dear and faithful ladies of our church, who, three years ago, went to central Florida to visit her family for Thanksgiving. During that time she was suddenly stricken with a serious illness that quickly brought her very near to death. But God in His mercy saw fit to spare and restore her.
Additionally, there was a young man sitting next to me, who, six years ago this month was in a traffic accident that left him with many broken bones and a serious impact to his head. When I went to the hospital to see him shortly after the accident, I had serious doubts that he would live through the night, and questions about what his long-term condition would be if he did survive. God’s goodness not only allowed him to live, but he is now able to walk, drive, work, and, I might add, he continues to be as much of a clown as he was before the accident. On top of all his other blessings since the wreck, two precious and beautiful little girls have been born to him and his wife.
As a recall these and other things for which I am so thankful unto God for, I am quickly reminded that this past year has not been without heartache and loss. As I look beyond my own family, I realize that there have been tragic and heart-breaking events in our community. Such adversities can cause us to wonder where the goodness and love of God are.
As we struggle with our human thoughts and feelings in that regard, we can be thankful that His grace is always sufficient no matter what comes our way. In those times we can choose, by faith, to obey the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”