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It Took a Chimp

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: ?He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.? And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.  Ezra 3:11 NIV

Photo courtesy janegoodall.orgI couldn’t watch without sobbing. It was the greatest example of thankfulness I’ve ever witnessed . . . and it was a chimpanzee that brought me to tears.

Dr. Jane Goodall, considered to be the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees, had a tender heart for these animals. In 1960 she began her study of primates in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. The desire of her passion . . . to learn, understand, and protect the chimpanzees. Through her years of study, she founded The Jane Goodall Institute where she rehabilitated injured chimps and studied them in a natural environment.

This woman’s fearless love allowed her to nurture and live among the wild chimps. So when I fell upon a video from her institute of the release of a rehabilitated chimp, I suddenly understood real gratitude.

A female assistant opened the kennel door and patted her knee. A chimp emerged, obediently turned, and backed into her arms to accept a hug. Dr. Goodall stood to the side of the kennel, motionless. The chimp jumped on the kennel and sat with its back to her. She said nothing. Didn’t offer to touch the animal. She stood with head bowed. The chimp turned, eased toward Dr. Goodall, and wrapped its arms around her, embracing her in one of the dearest acts of thanks I’ve ever seen. Dr. Goodall’s arms inched around the chimp, and her fingers gently stroked its back as the animal tenderly laid its head against her neck. Dr. Goodall waited patiently, quietly, for the chimp to realize who had nurtured and loved it back to health.  After a long hug, the animal returned to the wild.

After years of bondage and exile, the Israelites were finally able to begin rebuilding the temple. When the foundation was laid, they realized through their wounds, who had faithfully loved and cared for them. God patiently waited for them to turn to Him so He could wrap them in tight carress.

I couldn’t stop the tears as I watched this wild animal affectionately thank Dr. Goodall.

When our wounds seem too deep to heal, God is faithful. Like Dr. Goodall, He stands to the side, motionless, waiting for us to turn, step forward, and wrap our arms around Him.

It took a chimp to show me what true thanksgiving is. This Thanksgiving, stop and recognize that the foundation is laid. Lift your heart in praise for God is faithful.

Read more devotions at www.christiandevotions.us


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Cindy Sproles

Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the Executive Editor of www.christiandevotions.us and www.inspireafire.com. Cindy is the acquisitions editor for SonRise Books and Straight Street Books, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She teaches at writers conferences and women's conferences nationwide. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.


  1. I loved this devotion, Cindy! Great job!