Written by Talitha Arnold
"I lift my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come?"
Getting outdoors to lift my eyes and my feet to hike the mountains and canyons of the Southwest has always restored my soul. From childhood on, national parks have been as sacred to me as any church sanctuary.
Today's psalm reminded me of that truth. The timing is good since today is also when, perhaps like you, I'll sign my 1040 and put my IRS check in the mail. I don't necessarily like paying taxes, but I also know those national parks were open to me because other people had paid theirs.
The fact is, lots of good things have happened in my life because people I never knew filed their 1040's. So here's my personal prayer of thanks this April 15:
Thank you, God, for everyone who paid their taxes in years gone by. Because of them, my childhood was blessed with:
• mountains to climb and parks to explore;
• an education offered by public schools and libraries;
• safe drinking water and clean air to breathe;
• a home even after my father died, because my mother could get a low-interest FHA mortgage;
• Medicare for my grandmother when she got sick;
• free vaccinations against polio and other diseases;
• the county extension service and its 4-H programs for youth;
• and most importantly, the assurance that my country cared for me and my family.
That's my prayer today. I bet you could offer a similar one. As the Psalmist affirms, our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. But throughout my life, as probably through yours, help has also come through a host of government programs. I need to remember that as I mail my 1040 today.
Thank you, God, for those who have blessed our lives through their taxes in the past and for the chance to bless the lives of others with ours. Amen.