It is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue to confirm the blessings we experienced. Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation...
How do you know that God exists? How do you know that God loves you? These questions, upon the hearts of so many, have answers as real as the formative moments in your life.
As I have aged I seem to grow more and more prone to nostalgia. Many of us do this instinctively, clinging to memories past, perhaps looking backwards with the hope of seeing a purpose for our lives. When I travel to India, I make it a point to revisit time and again those significant marking points of my own life. As I recall these moments past but not forgotten, I hear the gentle voice of the God very much in the present. And He says, "I was there." "When on you were on your bike contemplating suicide, I was there. When you were but 9 years old and your grandmother died, I arranged for her gravestone to hold in time the very verse that would lead you to conversion. I was there."
It is in these harrowing moments—your parents divorce, your child's birth, the death of a loved one—where God leaves a defining mark. There is a reason you remember such moments so vividly. We have a choice to hear or to ignore, but regardless his voice cries out in our memories, "I was there." He has been in our past. He is here today. He will be there in our future.
God exists, as Lewis worded it well, in the "Eternal Now." And the psalmist, always writing with feet firmly planted in time, but arms ever reaching for the eternal, beautifully explains, "Thou art God from age to age the same." We need not be intimidated by the peril of the moment. As we look back on these markers in time, there is a sense of the transcendent, a glimpse of a reality greater than this. Beaming from this reality is the eternal love of God. He was with you then. He is there with you now. And He loves you.
William Shakespeare once reasoned, "Love sought is good, but given unsought is better." How do you know that God loves you? While you and I were yet sinners, still lost in realms of selfish time, Christ gave His life for us. And that sacrifice stands the greatest marker in time. It is the point at which eternity itself entered into the fullness of time to reach you and me, right now, and forever.
On this day, as we look upon some of the harrowing moments of our country's history let us receive the gentle reminder of God's presence. For in these formative moments, too, God has left a defining mark. He was there. And He is with you now. Ravi Zacharias