This Thanksgiving, families all around the world will gather together in prayer. Many will be asked to give an account of why they are thankful. While this year finds me surrounded as usual by undeserved blessings, 2010 has been a difficult year for me. Throughout my life, I've been blessed with an extremely close relationship with my mom and dad. I've been blessed to spend time with Mom and Dad, almost every week, for almost 59 years. This year I spent much of the summer watching my dad slowly succumb to cancer. I began this November by sitting prayerfully at Dad's bedside, holding his frail, purple-veined hand in mine, and literally watching as his last breath slipped away. So the seasonal question falls to me; why am I thankful? I'm thankful that, even in times of tremendous loss and sorrow, the Lord has provided His Word to give us hope. I'm thankful for every minute that I spent with Mom and Dad. I'm thankful that, despite polio, 30 years in the workforce, and two cervical surgeries, I'm still able to walk and live a productive life. I'm thankful for a wife who loves me despite all my faults. I'm thankful for my son and daughter and their new families. I'm thankful for the compassionate people who provide hospice care. I'm thankful that I have health insurance, and I'm prayerful that someday everyone will. I'm thankful that the Lord knows my heart, my needs, and my sorrows, and that, according to God's Word, the Lord knows me right down to the number of hairs on my head. The Lord knows what I believe, why I believe, and why, on occasion, I can't, and the Lord loves me anyway. There's a wide variety of professed Christians in the world today. Some feel called to reach out to sinners in love, as God intended. Others feel called to wave the Book, and shake their fists in hatred and contempt. There are professed Christians in this country today who gather like vultures at the funerals of fallen soldiers, denouncing freedom, deploring tolerance, and deriding the country I love. There are people who hate others because of who they love. I'm thankful I'm not filled with hate, but by the love of a compassionate Savior.
Shannon Thomas Casebeer