HEARTLAND | Eric Reed
O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the works Thy hands have made in 2014…
365 days marked by evening and morning, 365 sunsets and sunrises, as 143,341,000 people were born onto this planet and 56,759,000 departed, all receiving 1,640 minutes each day and blessings beyond number, I say
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul; thank you, Lord, for making me one of the billions you have saved by grace through faith. I was sinking deep in sin, far from your holy standard, and yet you made a Way for me—for us—to be rescued.
And His Name is Jesus.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish use of time and grant that we may more wisely employ our moments and our days to share your peace with a world that has suffered its absence this year: the death-march of ISIS and the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the kidnapped girls and the lost boys; the fear in Ferguson, and the failure of our social contract. We are grateful for God’s peace in our hearts, even as we realize the fragility of peace in our streets.
Sixty years after D-Day, bless the Greatest Generation who secured our freedom, and guard the young soldiers whose service today has redefined sacrifice.
In this, the year of Ebola, we pray: Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm hath bound the deadly wave with wonder drugs and rescue teams, hazmat suits and quarantines. For healthcare, though at times it’s costly, sparing lives that once would lost be; for ribbons pink and yellow wristbands and friends who live strong when faced with cancer. (And their hats.)
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for the year to come, we’re grateful for a stronger economy, steadier jobs, and the roof overhead. Our kids are warm and safely tucked in; thank you for the joy of children (those here now and those a’comin’).
For our Baptist family on bended knee lifting lost ones up to Thee; for our dear church, where would we be without your Body on earth that meets just down the street and comes over for small group?
For faithful friends and faithful givers, co-laborers in Christ who become brothers and sisters, the cloud of witnesses in heavenly places who cheer us on as we run our races.
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed is all you made and we marvel still at your inscrutable creation…yet little things cheer our hearts and make us sing “Happy” songs. I love breakfast (oh it’s so good!), foods I eat and foods I should. Coffee hot and iced tea sweet, mittened-hands and sock-warmed feet; feeling glad when winter comes and gladder still when winter goes.
Clinging to the hope of spring, there are 10,000 reasons for my heart to sing…Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul…because whatever comes in 2015,
“I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Eric Reed is editor of the Illinois Baptist and IBSA’s associate executive director for the church communications team. This column was written in the style of the late Joan Beck, Chicago Tribune columnist, whose annual “thanks” essays inspired readers for 30 years.