My wife Judi and I are second and third generation Americans depending which family line you trace back. Our ancestors came from Denmark, Germany and Czechoslovakia. They were poor and hard working. When they left Europe, they left with little more than some money, their hat in their hand and a dream. One thing they all had in common was their devout faith. When they left Europe the power brokers of the day said, “Good riddance” but in two or three generations, the descendents of these immigrants are blessed.The following two verses from Joe Diffie’s Song “Ships that Don’t Come In” remind me of how our ancestor’s may have felt as they were leaving their homes and families in Europe:
To those who stand on empty shores
And spit against the wind
And those who wait forever
For ships that don’t come in
‘Cause the things we’re calling heartaches
Hell, they’re hardly worth our time
We bitch about a dollar
When there’s those without a dimeWe (the descendents) have spread out across the country; many have their own businesses, and most are busy, involved productive citizens of America. Brad fixes telephone systems on the prairies of North Dakota; Adrienne works to preserve old buildings in Charleston, South Carolina; my cousin Andy preaches the gospel to the farmers and ranchers near Edna, Texas; Paul ministers to the street people in Corpus Christi, Texas. Nancy and Jim build houses in Jacksonville, Florida; Bobby is a college professor in Michigan. The Jacobsen brothers run their sawmill in Western Wisconsin shipping wood products all over the United States.
Dr. Ron is one of the world’s experts on turkey diseases; Steve is till the “best looking” UPS man in Forest Lake. The Folkert boys still ranch in Southwest Nebraska; David raises cattle and hay in Idaho.
The Hansen boys pour concrete in Northfield and the Twin Cities. Many farm in the Midwest, mainly Iowa and Minnesota. Gary and Laurie rise to milk cows every morning in the hill and plateau country of Western Wisconsin. Some own implement dealerships and car dealerships in Minnesota, Kansas City and Houston. We have truckers hauling everything from turkeys to furniture. We are writers, nurses, teachers, golf caddies, care givers, ministers, lumber yard owners, and librarians and some of us are still dreamers.
Yes, in just 2 to 3 generations our “ship has come in”. We need not spit into the wind. Through it all, hard work, tears, fears, tornados, floods, fires, blizzards and heartbreak, God has blessed us. My prayer this Thanksgiving Day is that we would not forget the Lord’s provision, protection and good mercy that He has shown to
Read the words of Deuteronomy 8: “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today." (Deuteronomy 8:10-14, 17-18) Thank the Lord for life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25).
May these descendents of the “Big Hands People” live with hope and face the future with expectation. Come quickly Lord Jesus; Come. God bless your Thanksgiving Day.