From Failure to Gratitude
Dr. Neil Chadwick
At the age of seven, a young boy and his family were forced out of their home, and the boy was forced to go to work. When the boy was nine, his mother passed away. He had a job as a store clerk, but lost it when he was twenty. The young man wanted to go to law school, but had no education. He went into debt when he was twenty-three, to become a partner in a small store. It was only three years later that his business partner died, and left him with a debt that took years for him to repay.
He dated a girl for four years and, at the age of twenty-eight, decided to ask her to marry him. She turned him down. Thirty-seven years into his life, he was elected to
Congress... on his THIRD try. He then failed to be re-elected. This man's son died when he was only four years old. At age forty-five, he ran for the Senate...and failed to be elected. He persisted at politics and ran for the vice-presidency at age forty-seven, and again lost. Finally, at the age of fifty-one, this man was elected President of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln.
And then, President Lincoln did a very unusual thing. In the midst of the darkest day in American history, in the midst of the Civil War which claimed more American lives than any other war, in the midst of great trial and tragedy, President Lincoln issued the following proclamation: "It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
Abraham Lincoln had a grateful heart. He knew, that even in the midst of great tribulation and hardship, there was much to be thankful for. And he took the time to express his gratitude to God, and invited the American people to join him in giving thanks to the Holy One.