Thankfulness in tough times

“As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it… But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him… ” (Psalm 103:15-17, NRSV)

“More than 2 million years ago, scores of whales congregating off the Pacific Coast of South America mysteriously met their end,” wrote Eva Vergara and Ian James on Saturday in the Huffington Post.

“Maybe they became disoriented and beached themselves. Maybe they were trapped in a lagoon by a landslide or a storm. Maybe they died there over a period of a few millennia. But somehow, they ended up right next to one another, many just meters (yards) apart, entombed as the shallow sea floor was driven upward by geological forces and transformed into the driest place on the planet.

“Today, they have emerged again atop a desert hill more than a kilometer (just over half a mile) from the surf, where researchers have begun to unearth one of the world’s best-preserved graveyards of prehistoric whales.”

The photos that accompanied this story dramatically portray a simple, yet profound tale about a forgotten phenomenon, beyond the reach of human memory. Perhaps we will never know what caused this incredible event in the grand schemes of creation.

The starkness of bleached whale bones in the harsh reality of the desert reminds us that what seems so big, ponderous, and powerful, can collapse intact in the dust of eternity. There it remains, lost from view, silent, and forgotten.

Few have escaped the challenging impact of our times. Many feel forgotten, overlooked, and manipulated by forces beyond their control. Some have given up in despair.

There is good news on this Thanksgiving Day that we celebrate in the U.S. In the grand economy of God, we are never gone nor are we forgotten. The steadfast love of God knows no limits or boundaries.

In 1834, Edward Mote wrote:

“When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.”

In that year of 1834, a symbol of stability burned to the ground. England’s Parliament and priceless historic documents, along with the palace of Westminster, were destroyed by fire.

It was also the year that Charles Babbage conceptualized what he called the “analytical engine” that would become the great-grandfather of the modern computer. He died without ever seeing the fruits of his labor and dreams.

If this year has taken something away from you, or if you have failed to realize a dream you’ve fondly held, take heart. Give thanks to Him who is all your hope and stay. God will not forget you! The Psalmist writes, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me… and do not forget all His benefits!” (Psalm 103:1-2, NRSV)

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