Thankful to the End

Angular rain and sleet fell like little crystals of glass against his already frost-bitten face and neck.  After he had heard from a friend that the fierce People’s Iron Guard was bent on killing him, he had to flee from his home.  Time did not even permit him to get properly dressed for this November weather.  Now, however, he forgot his physical state, and began to think, meditate, and pray.

He thought how strange it is that one should be driven from his warm home on this Thanksgiving Day.  Isn’t this the day upon which every good American gave thanks for the bounties he enjoyed? Isn’t this the day that everyone ate and drank themselves sick giving thanks? Isn’t this the time of year to look back with patriotic awe upon those who established this day? And isn’t this the time of the year to utter phrases as, “We must be thankful in prosperity and thankful in adversity”?

The sleet turned to snow, and the strong northwesterly wind pierced his scant clothing.  Along the road behind tuffs of grass and fence posts, small drifts began to pile up.  Through these drifts he plodded although his feet and legs were numb. As long as I walk, he thought, I’ll not freeze.  Fatigue and dull sleepiness began to pervade his mind and body, but his will drove him on. The intervals between footfalls became less frequent and shuffling.  Huge black clouds from the west continued to dump more snow on the bleak land.  On he plodded.  All he could think about was sleep, but his will turned his thoughts to God. He began to meditate.

Through this experience he was to be brought face-to-face with Almighty God. Immediately he thought back to the days of youth.  Portions of God’s Word which he had memorized while on his mothers knee came back to him fist.  He recited “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He meditated upon this.  God not only created the heavens and earth, but He created man to live in them, to be persecuted in them, and to die in them.  Now sheer exhaustion overcame him, his knees buckled under him, in this position he recited the Twenty-Third Psalm as he had learned it in the local Christian School.  God had not forgotten him.  Had God not promised, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

As the snow swirled wildly around him in blinding fury, he bowed his head low and thought, “though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.” He could go no further; he began to pray.

For a few moments he would pray, and then he would sleep.  Earnestly, sincerely, believingly he prayed the Lord’s Prayer—the first prayer he had learned.  His body was now completely numb only his lips moved as he formulated a prayer of his own.  Whispering and gasping for breath he prayed: “Father on High, Thanksgiving Day in this world for me is over.  All the thanks I give to thee. Precious in thy sight is my death.  Glorify thyself through it. Amen.”

After the storm had blown itself out, a squadron of the People’s Iron Guard continued their search for him.  Within a few hours word came back to headquarters that his body had been found buried under a heap of snow. Mission accomplished!