Just before Thanksgiving, 15 students and faculty gathered at a university in the Midwest for a lunch meeting of Nurses Christian Fellowship and InterVarsity. Most of the students had a huge exam at 1:00 p.m. following the meeting. Some were experiencing heartache and life changes: a new bride, a miscarriage, an upcoming surgery. Some were worried about sick family members to whom they would soon say goodbye.
The group gathered together and examined Psalm 107 in The Message, "Oh, thank God—he's so good! His love never runs out. All of you set free by God, tell the world!" In the midst of a challenging week of tests, papers and overload, people began to release their stresses to the Lord and focus on his goodness.
The Psalm repeats: "Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time." As the group reflected this phrase, something happened. Tears flowed as students and educators called out to God in desperation.
Over and over, the group read out loud this repeated responsive phrase: "So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves." The group reflected on ways God had "poured great draughts of water down parched throats," and "snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!" They encouraged one another to "Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what he's done—sing it out!" They asked, "What would a 'thanksgiving sacrifice' be for me personally?"
For these stressed-out students and faculty, a timely reminder of the goodness of the Lord lifted their burdens and filled their hearts with thanksgiving to God!