Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Senior Writer Larry Livingston.
In 1863, at a time when the country was being ripped apart by civil war, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. In his proclamation, Lincoln implored all Americans to pray that God would “heal the wounds of the nation.”
Lincoln understood the intimate relationship between suffering and gratitude. He knew that it was important for people to take time to reflect on the blessings they’d enjoyed as Americans, especially at a moment when those blessings were being threatened. He knew that only people who had experienced the darkness could fully appreciate the light.
That is an insight shared by families throughout the world who’ve been touched by Unbound. They know what the generosity of sponsors means for them. They understand that they’ve been offered an opportunity to make their lives better, and they’re filled with appreciation.
Bob Hentzen, our late co-founder, often helped lead Unbound awareness trips to countries where we work. He observed how profoundly moved sponsors would become when personally thanked by the people in the communities they’d visit.
“Sometimes the outpouring of gratitude is so great that the sponsors get on overload,” Bob said. “And at the end of the day they say, ‘Bob, I can’t take it anymore. I’m embarrassed.’ And I say, ‘Relax. These people must thank. It’s in their blood. It’s in their creation. They must thank, and they’re going to thank you over and over and over again.’”
Today, when we witness so much suffering around the world and at home, it would be good for us to follow the lead of Unbound families, who, as Bob said, have thankfulness in their blood. Then we will be guided by gratitude for what we have and hope for what we can, together, become.
Gracious God, creation overflows with your generosity. Every new day, every breath we take, every life that touches ours is a gift to be cherished. Bless us with awareness of the abundance of blessings in our lives so we may ever thank you, and may our gratitude lead to resolve to extend our blessings to others. We ask this in your most holy name. Amen.