I vividly remember the chill that started to set in as the sun fell early below the mountains to our west. The twelve of us boys, none older than 12, and our guide were hungry and thirsty. The crispness of the air in June somewhere just below 10,000 feet in the valley in which we were huddled, and the darkness that came early in its shadows, drove home to all of us the seriousness of our situation. We were too far into the mountains to turn back at this late hour, and the bike trail we were on had become impassable. We were stuck for the night. We had dressed for a few hours of 90-degree mountain biking, not for the temperatures that would surely come as the sun went down. At that elevation, some places in the shade still had remnants of the winter’s snow. We knew we were in for a long night.
As we huddled in the dark around the fire, we spent time asking questions. We wondered what our parents might be thinking. We wondered what the other campers at Camp Perkins might be thinking. We wondered what dinner was served back at the camp and what dessert might have topped it off.
Eventually, we found comfort in discussing the things that we were thankful for. The fact that no bears or mountain lions had been spotted. The fire that we had, a fire by the way that was lit with our last match (I would never trust book matches again). We were thankful for the cheap bike helmets and their thin flammable covers that helped us produce enough heat to start our fire on that last match. We were thankful that we had each other. And we looked forward to the morning light which would bring us time to retrace our steps and return us to the head of the trail.
I learned a lot on that cold night in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. It is a memory that I carry with me to this day. Through that tough experience, I learned of the value of being thankful, especially during times of trouble. It is one thing to be thankful in abundance; it is quite another to be thankful in scarcity. Talking about the things we were thankful for during that cold, dark night around the fire helped us tremendously. And we know that God is the creator and provider of all things good. Matthew 5:45 reminds us that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
These last few years at Christ Lutheran School (CLS) have been tough. In addition to a pandemic, our staff and their families have been affected by various illnesses that have caused us to ask ourselves “Why?” There have been a lot of uncertainties. It has been quite a storm. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let us give thanks to God for all that we have.
I give thanks for the wonderful staff that we have at CLS. Their dedication to the students is amazing. There are so many things that our staff does inside and outside of the classroom to ensure the best for our students. When discussing things in our faculty meetings, their focus on the welfare of the students is humbling to see. It is an honor to work with such dedicated Christian teachers!
I give thanks for Christ Lutheran Church, which has for decades made Christian education in our community a priority. Did you know that roughly 75% of the school’s operations cost is supported by the generosity of the members of Christ Lutheran Church? When we consider that it costs roughly $8000 to educate a child, I am thankful to the church that they work to make a Christian education affordable for our families.
We indeed have a lot to be thankful for, especially during these past few years. My prayer is that all of us take time this Thanksgiving to thank our Almighty Father, that He has given us so much. Often, more than we even realize.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him all creatures here below!
Praise Him above ye Heavenly Host!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Photo © Courtnie Tosana/Unsplash