The Psalmist was so full of thankfulness for God’s mercies that he exclaimed in Psalm 30:12: “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent, O Lord, my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever.” He has so much for which to offer praise. He is thankful that death had not yet caught up with him, for “what profit is there in my blood when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise Thee?” (v.9) He acknowledges that the mercy of God has kept him alive and affirms that he will not be silent about God’s goodness and mercies—and that forever he will sing His praises! That is what every child of God should believe and practice every day. David’s testimony as recorded in part in Psalm 30—which begins with “I will extol Thee, O Lord…”—ought to be ours this Thanksgiving Day. And every day.
It is an old reading by an author that is unknown to me, and you have probably been blessed by it many times, as have I. But it never ceases to move the chords of thankfulness, love, and praise in my heart whenever I read it, so please let me share it with you again:
“Today, upon a bus I saw a girl with golden hair. She seemed so bright; I envied her, and wished that I were half so fair. I watched her as she rose to leave, and saw her hobble down the aisle. She had one leg and wore a crutch, but as she passed—a smile! Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two legs, the world is mine.
Later on I bought some sweets. The boy who sold them had such charm, I thought I’d stop and talk awhile. If I were late, ‘twould do no harm. And as we talked, he said, ‘Thank you, sir, you’ve really been so kind. It’s nice to talk to folks like you because you see I’m blind.’ Oh, God, forgive me when I whine; I have two eyes, the world is mine.
Later, walking down the street, I met a boy with eyes so blue; he stood and watched the others play; it seemed he knew not what to do. I paused, and then, I said, ‘Why don’t you join the others, dear?’ But he looked straight ahead without a word, and then I knew, he couldn’t hear. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine; I have two ears, the world is mine.
Two legs to take me where I go. Two eyes to see the sunset’s glow. Two ears to hear all I should know. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine. I’m blessed indeed, the world is mine.”
In Psalm 119:62, David said that he would rise at midnight to give thanks to God. It is a good thing to give thanks to God—morning, noon, and night. It is one thing that every one of us can and should do. Is your present plight difficult? Giving thanks in everything—for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you—will change your perspective on any problem or even in any crisis. (I Thess. 5:17)
Missionaries, like every other serving saint, have difficulties and mountainous challenges to deal with daily, serving often in foreign countries and attempting to reach the nationals where they serve, while learning a language that is not familiar to them—in a culture that, in many ways, is the opposite of the way of life where they grew up.
Bernard and Bernice Dodeler have served the Lord faithfully in France for 50 years. Their advantage has been that the language and culture are native to them, but the barriers of unbelief have been no less monumental. In November of 2011, when Bernard and Bernice had been laboring faithfully for 40 years, loving their own countrymen and women to Christ, they sent their supporters and friends a prayer letter in which they said, “When in the early 70’s, we accepted the call of God to go church planting in France, little did we realize how much we would have to squarely rest upon God’s daily providence. Day after day, month after month, year after year, we have marveled at the way God has extended His providence over us:
- God was there to provide all of our support to go to the mission field only five months after graduation from Central Seminary.
- God was there to give us strength and courage to establish a local church in a city of northeastern France, totally overwhelmed by Marxists.
- God was there to comfort us and take care of us when the French Post Office blocked our monthly support checks for nearly four months because postal workers went on strike.
- God was there to encourage us when the going was slow in getting churches under way.
- God was there to give us wisdom and patience every time a church failed financially to meet its obligations.
- God was there protecting us when we were driving unreliable cars from one ministry to another.
- God was there to enhance our compassion for the lost when they were obnoxious to us.
- God was there providing our very basic needs through the economically disastrous Carter era.
- God was there guiding us when pivotal decisions needed to be made to preserve the integrity of I.B.B.I., the training place for faithful nationals.
- Recently, God provided graciously a nice pre-owned station wagon with low mileage from people with whom we now have excellent rapport.”
That praise and prayer letter was written almost 11 years ago, and the Dodelers are still praising God for His faithfulness. They were just presented a special award for meritorious missionary service of 50 years by the mission agency under whose auspices they have steadfastly served a half-century.
Do you have a list of things for which to specifically thank God for this Thanksgiving Day? Giving thanks reveals a grateful heart. It can also be contagious. Anyone can grumble or even gripe, but it is a serious thing to do. The late Noel Smith, writing in the November, 1972, issue of the Baptist Bible Tribune, said, “Ingratitude is the basic sin of youth. It is the basic sin of middle age; such gratitude as most middle- aged people have drains to their belly. A girdle will improve the figure but it won’t improve the heart.”
My prayer is that Thanksgiving Day Thursday will find you lifting your heart in praise to the God of all grace.
“Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto Thy holy name, and to triumph in Thy praise.” (Ps. 106:47)