Thank You, God

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#49: “Thank You, God”
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Romans 8:28

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Ephesians 5:20
20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Thank You, God

“Thank You, God” is episode #49 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on November 19, 1988.


Whit tells a group of friends about how he became a Christian. When he was young, his stepmother was in a horrible accident which left her blind. Through God's love, she was able to cope and show Whit the meaning of faith.



It's Thanksgiving, and Whit has invited Connie and her mom, June, along with Tom Riley and his wife, Agnes, to Whit's End for dinner. With the Rileys is a boy named Rodney. He's without family today because his father is traveling, and his mother abandoned him when he was a small child. Before everyone sits down to eat, Whit asks them to participate in a tradition his wife started years earlier.

On each plate is a kernel of corn. Whit passes around a basket, and each person is to place their kernel in the basket and tell one thing for which they're thankful. Many of the answers are predictable — Connie and June are thankful for each other, as are Agnes and Tom, and Tom is also thankful for the time of year. But Rodney says his lack of family leaves him without anything to be thankful for. Whit disagrees. He says that as a Christian, Rodney can give thanks in all situations — even difficult ones.

To illustrate, Whit recounts, via flashback, the story of his stepmother, Fiona Donneral. She was a devout Christian woman who did her best to raise Whit after his real mother died. They lived in rural North Carolina, where Whit's father was a professor at Duke University. Whit and Fiona did many things together, including ride horses.

As they rode one afternoon, Fiona's horse galloped under a tree, and she was knocked out by a low-hanging branch. When she awoke later, she had lost her sight. Young Whit was devastated. First, he'd had to deal with his natural mother's death, and now, his stepmother's blindness. But Fiona's Christian faith gave her courage and the ability to cope. She pulled both of them through the difficult times. Her faith was so great that it helped lead young Whit to Jesus — which is what his kernel represents.

Fiona's story inspires even Rodney — who decides he really does have much to be thankful for after all.

Discussion Questions

  1. What Thanksgiving traditions does your family practice?
  2. How can Christians be thankful in all situations?
  3. What does Romans 8:28 mean when it says that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him?


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Mentioned in episode

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Jenny Whittaker John Whittaker



  • The broadcast version of this episode has Chris giving a tour of the Adventures in Odyssey studios.
  • The first broadcast included references to Odyssey's one-year anniversary. During Chris's closing wrap-up, the production team hums "Happy Birthday."
  • Agnes is the only person in this show who doesn't say what she's thankful for. There's a good reason — the scene was cut from the original show. The scene was later added as a bonus to #511: “The Pact, Part 1” when it aired.
  • This show marked AIO's one-year anniversary.
  • In the wraps, Chris says, “Our U.S. address is...” rather than simply, “Our address is....”
  • Professor Harold Whittaker states, "There are no need for lights." Grammatically, it is supposed to be, "There is no need for lights." The phrase was ad-libbed by actor Chuck Bolte.
  • Whit says his family "moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where my father [...] taught at Duke University." Although Duke University is in Durham, not Raleigh, the proximity of the two cities makes it possible to live in one and commute to a job in another.



John Whittaker: You both got back just in time.
Connie Kendall: To eat? Oh, good I'm starved.

John Whittaker: Well Agnes, it takes time to cook a good turkey dinner.
Agnes Riley: That's what I've always tried to tell Tom, Whit. It's not as easy as you thought it was, is it?
Tom Riley: Nope. Especially on the turkey.

Fionna Donneral: My my this room is a mess.
Young John Whittaker: No it isn't I just cleaned it up this morn.. That wasn't very funny.
Fionna Donneral: Then why are you smilin?
Young John Whittaker: How do you know I'm smiling?
Fionna Donneral: Because a smile isn’t just somethin’ you see; it’s somethin’ you hear as well.

Fionna Donneral: I remember an ol’ Scottish prayer my mother taught me when I was a wee girl. It goes like this: “Lord, I thank thee a thousand times for the roses. Help me to thank thee for the thorns as well.”

John Whittaker: That's why I’m thankful for Fionna Donneral. She helped me get over my mother's death, she got me into the habit of reading the Bible everyday, and led me to Christ. And all those roses came out of the thorn of her blindness.

Rodney: I'm thankful that my Dad didn't pick me up; because if he did, I wouldn'ta learned what to be thankful for.