In 1863, because of the Army victory at Gettysburg during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving holiday for every succeeding November. This was to be a day set apart to “praise our beneficial Father who dwells in the heavens.”

Yet, in some years it is more difficult to give thanks. In 2020, it seems as if many have experienced more tough, grim days than in some other years. Many have experienced what seems like hopelessness — perhaps the homeless, ones in hospital beds, or other families in pain and suffering. Even for me in my 78th Thanksgiving week, life’s hardships and trials have forced me to dig deeper into my thankful well. I have discovered the water level is lower than normal.

To be truthful, I feel a little like David felt when he wrote Psalm 63. He expressed a parched and hungry soul which created a deep thirst for God. This was in the midst of what seemed like excruciating heat in desert sands. Nothing else satisfied. 

However, with a big bucket lowered very deep in life’s well, I have also discovered there is living water there. I can say, along with David, this is because God’s love and kindness are better than life, than the richest of foods. It is also because God is my help, my protection, in the shadow of His overstretched wings. Frankly, sometimes I don’t see His love and help. But what would life be like if they were not there?

Therefore, I can sing songs at night. In the darkness of this world, I can cling to God for light. Jesus, the Source of lasting hope and joy, is my only anchor and security. He is big enough to hold me.

This Thanksgiving, my prayer is for those of you who hurt the most. I pray for God’s dear love, presence, deep living water, and hope to be yours abundantly too.