Greetings in the name of Jesus, to Whom thousands and thousands of thanks are due!
It is the month of Thanksgiving! As I number my blessings in thanksgiving to God, I thank Him for the privilege of serving here at Concordia Seminary, an institution whose work serves Christ’s church throughout our nation and throughout the world. And I thank God for each one of you — our alumni, serving in unique places throughout the world with your unique gifts as pastors, deaconesses, missionaries, scholars and leaders whose lips and lives testify to Jesus.
In Psalm 79, the psalmist laments before God from the midst of a situation that we might describe in today’s terms as “terrible times for the church.” Things were so bad, Old Testament Israel had suffered such devastating harm and mockery, it seemed God Himself was burning with anger against Israel. Yet, the people acknowledged their sins before Him and prayed in Psalm 79 that God would forgive them in mercy and that He Himself would come to their aid.
As we make our pilgrim way through this sin-broken world, with sin-tainted hearts and sin-strained lives, we thank God for the mercy He has extended us in Christ Jesus. We thank and praise Him that, for Jesus’ sake, God remembers our sins no more. His ears are open to our every prayer, and, in compassion, He is always near to be our help. So, whether the day is “great” or the day is “terrible,” it is a day which the Lord has made, a day in which His mercies are renewed to us, a day in which He will not forsake us, and a day that is one day closer to the day of Christ’s coming.
In this confidence, we press on through life’s challenges, even as we delight in life’s many blessings — each one a personal gift from the hand of our God.
It is a gritty psalm, Psalm 79. But after all the heart-rending realism about the Israelites’ current situation, it ends with this beautiful note of thanksgiving:
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise. (Ps. 79:13 ESV)
We are His dear sheep. You are His dear sheep. May this month of Thanksgiving draw your eyes to all the manifestations of His tender care for you and, most especially, to God’s never-ending love for you in Jesus Christ.
Every blessing in Him,
Dr. Thomas J. Egger