God’s goodness is running after us

By Blake Harwell
First Baptist Church, Clinton, SC

Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday when I was in college. I’d come home for the holidays (Mercer’s break extended from Thanksgiving through New Year’s) and begin a six-week season of family get-togethers, great food, and a job (or two).

What made Thanksgiving my favorite was the family re-gathering I got to be a part of. I shot my first buck one break and publicly surrendered to vocational Christian ministry (December 1, 1985) on another. Those events compounded the love I had for what Thanksgiving brought. I even began to love Thanksgiving music.

As I’ve grown older, my love for this holiday has increased.  I have a profound appreciation for the opportunity our country has provided to slow down and consider the blessings God has given. We are privileged people! God has been so good to our country.

This Thanksgiving has a different vibe for me though. On Thanksgiving weekend, I plan to marry a woman I cannot believe God has brought into my life. Sharon is a gift. We will celebrate our wedding (family only) in many ways. One piece of music which will be played is “Goodness of God.” The chorus declares: “All my life You have been faithful. All my life You have been so good.” It’s so true.

But here’s the beauty of it: this song has been a refrain in my life these past three years. It’s certainly appropriate for Thanksgiving but also for the season into which Sharon and I enter as newlyweds. We sang it standing side-by-side in worship at First Baptist a few weeks back. And then it struck me how truly faithful God has been to both of us! Tears of joy started running down my face.

But “Goodness of God” is more than merely fitting for this season of my life. It’s also the song I picked to be sung at Dana’s memorial service over two years ago. I sang it full-throated on that occasion too—with tears of a different kind on my face.

For in the terror of Dana’s cancer, in the abandoned feeling of her passing, and now in the present “high” of this new beginning, God’s goodness is running after us. God’s faithfulness is one more reason for our gratitude.