Today marks a very special day of giving thanks. Yet, every day, giving thanks should be what marks us. Long before a day was set apart for this occasion in the United States, Psalm 95:2 declared:
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”
Writing from Haiti this morning, we missionaries tend to see this world and this day through different lenses. Dealing with fourth-world problems such as lack of electricity, water, lack of internet service (only to name a few), reminds us of what we walked away from almost 35 years ago. One only needs to spend a week here to truly appreciate the comforts of home in the United States. One pastor did so several years ago and when he returned stateside, he knelt down at the airport and kissed the tarmac! Only then did he realize how very blessed he was to be a citizen of the United States.
We grew up in a country whose infrastructure works. You can’t imagine the joy it gives us to drive down nice roads in North Carolina that are not flooded by heavy rains and not have to dodge trash filling the streets because there’s already a system in place to take care of these things. There are actually stop lights and rules that people must follow that create order instead of having to swerve around cars and motorcycles every time one goes to town. As an American, the lack of a normally functioning system vexes us to no end. Why? Because we did not grow up that way.
We have no regrets for moving to Haiti. This is our mission and this is our call. But, we are thankful for the time we have to return home and decompress after living in a nation with few laws and much instability. Yes, America has other problems and they are serious problems. We can’t be like ostriches burying our heads in the sand and look the other way when we have such major issues glaring at us from without and from within. Our country is spiritually sick and we pray for America now as much as we do for Haiti. Yet….. having said that, please be reminded that everyone around the world still wants to go to the United States. No one wants to be deported from there. On this occasion when Americans come together to give thanks to God, a part of us wishes we could be there too.
We want to encourage you to be truly thankful from the heart if you’re so blessed to enjoy the comforts of our homeland or that of another country where you have reaped manifold blessings. Pray for that nation which has contributed to so much of your happiness and welfare and remember to give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus