As Gomer Pyle, USMC, says, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”
Thank you, Lord, for you loving kindness. For bending down from heaven to incline your ear towards us. Who are we that you are mindful of us? Fortunately, we who believe in you and love you more than life itself have the privilege to say that we are your sons and daughters.
Thank you, Lord, for walking with me my entire life. When I was a child, you were with me in Sunday School. Sitting next to me on one of those tiny chairs as I learned the Bible stories. You spoke to me through the pretty pictures artists drew of you. One of my favorite pictures was and is Jesus standing at the door knocking. It represents the door to our hearts. The teacher said all we have to do is to open the door. One day in Sunday school, I opened that door and asked you in. You’ve been there ever since.
You helped me to eventually read the Bible stories for myself. I love the story of you rescuing the three in the fiery furnace. They refused to bow down to the image of old Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. For the longest time I thought they were Shadrach, Meshach and a Billy Goat. But even though I was a little mixed up on the details, I knew that you sent an angel to protect them from the flames. They were unharmed.
As Gomer Pyle also says, “Surprise. Surprise. Surprise!” It was a miracle. The Bible is full of wonderful miracles. What too many people don’t realize is that you still perform miracles today. I’ve experienced them for myself. I’ve heard of so many others I can’t even count them. You are not some remote being up in the clouds. You are alive and active in our daily lives. Thank you.
You encouraged me to hide your Word in my heart. You sent the Holy Spirit to give me understanding and insight. Not all at once, but little by little. You’re still doing that. I’m still learning, thankful that the Bible is your living and breathing Word. Like you, it never changes, but my understanding continues to grow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
I’m thankful, Lord, that I still have the freedom to read the Bible. I pray for those who are not as fortunate. For places in this world where other believers are forced to meet in secret just to talk about you. They travel in the middle of the night to hear others speak about your goodness and mercy. To sing your praises. To pray together.
The persecuted church is on the run. They’re running straight to you in the midst of danger and even threat of death. They’re running to you because you are their safe haven. You are the owner of a thousand cattle on the hill. You are their refuge and strength in times of trouble. May we who are not persecuted in life-threatening ways also remember that you are our hiding place. That you are the Lord of our lives in good times as well as bad.
May we stand in the gap for our persecuted brothers and sisters, praying for their safety. That they may have the freedom we so easily take for granted. Keep them safe, Lord. Give them your strength. Surround them in your loving arms. Draw close to them.
And Lord, may we look at our brothers and sisters who are running to you and may we join them in their pursuit of you. May we have strong legs of faith that take us straight to you no matter our circumstances.
As our culture continues to change, becoming more anti-Christian, Lord, may we be strong like our persecuted brothers and sisters. They know the truth. Without you, there is no hope. Without you, life is meaningless. With you, there is not the promise of eternal life.
May we Christians live lives that reflect you. May others look at us and say, “Golly, there’s something really different about them.” They may be outwardly critical of us, but may they inwardly wonder where our peace comes from. And Lord, may you give each of us opportunities to tell them about you. We may even tell them about the picture of Jesus standing at the door knocking.
Before time on this earth is over, may many open that door, Lord. So that one day throngs of people will enter Heaven. Looking at you in wonder and amazement, may we all say that word that Gomer Pyle says so well, “Shazam!”
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.