Thanks, feeling, fact, faith, praise
by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel –
“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heaven; praise him in the heights! Praise the Lord from the earth” (Psalm 148:1,7 NRSV).
It’s Thanksgiving time in America. I’ve often wondered if many other countries have a similar holiday. A few celebrate their independence day or a hero’s birthday as a time of thanksgiving but it seems that only in the USA and Canada is there such a national holiday. In the US it began a few years after the arrival of the Pilgrims to the shores of Massachusetts, but Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving ever since, no matter where they happen to be living.
As we have traveled, particularly doing mission service projects in other countries, we have come to know and love people in their native lands. However, we have never come home without realizing how blessed we are to be born in America. People of great talent, great value, of deep faith and great worth are limited so much by where they were born. How blessed you are if you were born in America or have been able to come to live in the USA! Millions do not have the privileges we enjoy. This ought to give us plenty of reasons to be thankful.
However we are not always thankful. I think it’s because we concentrate on the problems of life. One caller to a Christian radio station told his troubles today. When he left for work his car hit a rock in the road and as he drove he could see a trail of oil behind his car. He turned around and went home, with oil pouring out of his car. He was calling to say he was thankful. Thankful that he didn’t have to walk home, that he didn’t burn up the engine in his car, that his car could be repaired, but most of all, he was thankful for God’s care in what could have been a very bad situation.
Thankfulness is another way of giving praise to the fact of God’s love and care.
Many times we have read of the suggestion that we should keep a record of the things for which we are thankful. Every morning make a list of God’s gifts. At the end of the day, write on your calendar one thing for which you can praise the Lord.
One writer says, “For a long time, I hesitated. Counting my blessings seemed too simplistic. On good days, thanks to God seemed appropriate, but what could I say to God on those awful days when I was depressed or in trouble or when everything seemed to go wrong? Surely I have many days when praise is not appropriate.
“Finally, I tried it. Every day for a month, I wrote down on my calendar one thing for which I was thankful. Was I surprised! Even on routine, boring, and bad days, I could find a reason to praise God. I no longer keep a record on my calendar, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of a good reason to be thankful.”
One could ask how can people be thankful in the loss of home and possessions such as in the recent, terrible, California fires? Lifetime memories destroyed, investments of years lost, but even in these kinds of disasters, people find reasons to praise the Lord. The stories being told by families, who are alive and together, will make this Thanksgiving, a time to reflect on what is really important.
You may not “feel” blessed or “feel” you have much to be thankful for. Just look around and think of those who love you, of the many answers to your prayers. Then, consider the incredible love of Jesus, who gave himself for you, that you might live eternally.
Now, that’s something to praise the Lord about!