Psalm 136:26 (NLT)
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever.
This verse tells us that God is a glorious God, and the glory of His mercy is to be taken notice of in our praises. Romans 9:23 states the riches of his glory are displayed in the vessels of His mercy. Psalm 136:26 also denotes Him to be the great benefactor, for every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of lights, the God of heaven; and we should trace every stream of mercy and goodness back to His fountain. Other mercies may perhaps endure but a while, but the mercy that is in God endures forever; it is an inexhaustible fountain.
Evelyn Bence in �Two Kinds of Thanks� wrote about her experience spending the night in a homeless shelter. In reflecting on her experience she wrote the following:
Only after I walked back out into the night air did the women's stories unsettle me. Their paths had too much in common with mine. In a sense, I was one of them: A mother's daughter. Vulnerable. A sinner in need of grace. ...
Since then I have been more aware of the uprooted Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Latin American refugees who live in my neighborhood, who ride my bus. War, political change, economic collapse--conditions over which they had no control--destroyed their lifestyle and stole their ability to communicate easily and thus to work efficiently. My thoughts have frightened me. My comfortable world, my secure home, is not guaranteed.
At the sight of the outstretched hand of a city beggar, I have always grown uncomfortable. Until recently, I have thought it was because of Jesus' warning in Matthew 25:45: "Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these [the hungry, thirsty, unclothed, homeless], you did not do for me."
But since I spent an evening at the women's shelter, I see that Matthew 25 is only the partial cause of my discomfort. I am uncomfortable because I see the beggar as myself--or my very own brother or mother or father. And I cannot think of a homeless or hungry woman in such personal terms without a reversal in the way I give my thanks.
The difference between "Thank you that I'm not one of them" and "Thank you for the grace you have shown to me, and help me to mirror your grace to others" may, at first, seem slight. But the second is for me a wholly new mindset that makes me want to reach out, that reduces my discomfort around those who have less than I, and, surprisingly, that reduces my fear of a future that is unknown. Why? Because even though I know I have no insurance policy against war and famine or sickness, I know I have a God who does not forget his own. And for that I thank him also.