(Photograph of Norman L. Bales)
LORD, I THANK YOU
“Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name” (1 Chr. 29:13)
INTRO.: A hymn which thanks God and praises His glorious name is “Lord, I Thank You.” The text was written by Norman Lane Bales, who was born on June 21, 1935, at Hico in Bosque County, Texas, the son of Burl and Ruby Lois (Lane) Bales. Reared in Clyde, Texas, where he became a Christian and began to preach, he graduated from high school and enrolled in Abilene Christian College (now University), graduating from that institution with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies in 1957 and later returning to do graduate work there. That same year, he began full-time preaching with the church in Rosebud, Texas (1957-1959). In 1959, he married Sarah Ann Williams of Waco, Texas, and they had four children, Elliot, Jim, Ruby, and Gary.
Bales served the Lord in various capacities, ministering with churches in Belton near Houston, Texas (1960-1962), and Albany, New York (1962-1964). In 1964, he joined with Charles Williams and Jim Sheerer in a team mission effort to establish a church in Jamestown, New York (1964-1969), where he was also on the board directors of Christian Youth Enterprises Inc., in Buffalo. He then worked with the Argentine Church of Christ in Kansas City, Kansas (1969-1973), where he was also Devotional Chairman of the Turner Parent-Teachers Association, and Louisiana (1973-1977). Most of his song writing was confined to producing lyrics. “Lord, I Thank You” was copyrighted in 1976 with the tune composed by Weldon Kennedy. Also he collaborated on several other songs with Kennedy and Bob Connel. In 1977, Bales began labor with the Central Church of Christ in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was also a Patron of the Performing Arts.
“Lord, I Thank You” was used in the 1978 Hymns of Praise compiled for the Firm Foundation Publishing House by Reuel Lemmons and the 1980 book Our Garden of Song edited by Gene C. Finley. Bales was a published author of several books who enjoyed playing the guitar, singing, and especially spending time with his many friends and beloved family. In addition, he also served on the board directors at Camp Sunset Inc., in Groesbeck, Texas. He died, aged 83, on Thursday Nov. 8, 2018, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. Preceded in death by his parents, he was survived by his wife, his children, their spouses, three grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and several cousins. Funeral services were held on Nov. 12, at the Central Church of Christ with burial at Cedar Memorial Park in Cedar Rapids.
“Lord, I Thank You” is an expression of heart-felt thanks to the Lord for His spiritual blessings.
I. Stanza 1 refers to what God has done in the past
Yesterday my life was sad,
I was deeply trapped in sin,
Burdened down with care;
But Your grace has made me glad,
Now there’s joy down in my soul
I long to share.
- At some time in each person’s past, he or she was trapped in sin: Rom. 3:23
- But God’s grace has made it possible to be saved: Eph. 2:8-9
- As a result, the Lord brought joy unspeakable to our souls: 1 Pet. 1:8
II. Stanza 2 mentions what God will do in the future
Days ahead may bring me grief,
Pain may greatly try my soul,
Failure may bring me low;
You, my Lord, will give relief,
And You will heed my earnest prayer,
I trust you so.
- Days ahead may still bring us grief because man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble: Job 14:1
- But the Lord will give relief by not allowing any testing beyond what we are able but making a way of that we might be able to bear it: 1 Cor. 10:13
3. And we can always count on Him to hear our prayers: 1 Pet. 3:12
III. Stanza 3 talks about what God is doing in the present
Even now You bear my load,
Give me joy and hope within,
Love flows through my heart;
Faith will take me down the road
That leads to gentle peace and love,
May we not part.
- Even now each of has a load that we must bear: Gal. 6:5
- But we can bear our burdens because God’s love flows through our hearts: Rom. 5:5
- As a result, we can have the gentle peace of God to rule our minds: Col. 3:15
CONCL.: The chorus continues to express thanks, praise, love, and service to God for all the blessings that He gives us.
Lord, I thank You,
Lord, I praise You,
I thank You for the joy that’s in my soul;
Lord, I love You,
Now I serve You,
I’ve served You since Your love has made me whole.
As we remember all the blessings that God has provided for us in Christ, each one of us should be moved to say, “Lord, I Thank You.”