It occurs to me this morning that no two Thanksgiving Days are identical. The menu for the meal may be the same. The place settings and traditions may be the same. But the thanksgiving itself is always unique, because the year that precedes it is unique. Thanksgiving is a reflective, responsive day that draws its energy from the twists and turns of our story over the past year.
So this year, I am grateful for the sustaining mercies of the Lord that have carried us through one of the toughest years of our life. “Sustaining” signals images of rich depth for us.
There have been days when our souls despaired of life itself—and the Father came with resurrection life to sustain us.
Some days immersed us under waves of weeping and seemingly senseless grief, but somehow, the Father has siphoned those tears into His bottle and sustained us to keep looking for the joy that comes in the morning.
Many days have been lonely, and the Father has sustained us by the quiet assurance of His presence.
Sometimes, we have been just plain scared—and the Lord has sustained us with the embrace of the Spirit, and enough Light for one more step into the dark.
Other times, we have been confused and angry—even with God—and He has sustained us by His living and unchanging word (especially in the Psalms) that gave us a vocabulary for lamenting faith.
Some parts of our story have tempted us to wonder about the Father’s love. Almost as soon as that whisper hit the ears of our hearts, we were sustained by some reminder of the gospel of a bloody cross, an empty tomb and a glorious throne—and knew that Love had not faltered.
The Father has sustained our minds, hearts and lives through this year. And it is certainly not because we deserved it or earned it.
His sustaining is all mercy.
Mercy that arises from His heart.
Mercy simply because He is good.
How has He brought the mercies to us? In more ways than we can name and more than we know, but certainly…
+ through friends who hung close (you know who you are).
+ through the Word in the Bible, a lifeline for our souls.
+ through a network of pray-ers pleading before the throne on our behalf.
+ through sleep and rest–especially naps. (Preschoolers are onto something!).
+ through unexpected laughter.
+ through phone calls, conversations, cards or e-mails that came at just the right moment.
+ through opportunities to keep a hand in ministry.
+ through books and writing and songs.
+ through our family’s shared faith and enjoying my wife’s stubborn trust and the full circle of being encouraged by my son’s faith.
So, thank you, Father. You are good!
We have made it to this day only by your sustaining mercies.