And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20
Diver what? It was a long time ago but for some reason it is still fresh in my mind. Journey back with me to 2002…twenty years ago. One day I started feeling pretty bad. I ended up going to the doctor and first he did the normal doctor stuff and then he began to poke and to prod and that is when the fun began. He pressed down on my side, and I just about came off the table.
Well, he said, “Preacher, I think you have diverticulitis.” I didn’t have a clue what diver ”whatever-it-is-itis” was but I knew I didn’t feel good. It turns out that diverticulitis is an infection of the colon, and it can be potentially dangerous. Anyway, he sent me over to the hospital for some more tests, some pain meds and a really strong dose of antibiotics.
For the first few days I was pretty out of it but finally I turned a corner and began to feel a little better. Because of how diverticulitis works, I couldn’t have anything to eat—and very little to drink–for several days. Now those of you who regularly read Grits know that food and I are best friends so for me to go several hours…much less days…without eating is something strange indeed. Finally, one morning, the nurse came in and asked if I would like some WATER. Oh, was I grateful. “Yes, yes,” said the thirsty preacher.
At lunch they brought me a Popsicle and some chicken broth. Oh, was I grateful. “Thank you so very much,” said the hungry preacher. At supper they brought me some more chicken broth and another Popsicle. “Thanks,” said the now feeling better and still hungry preacher. At breakfast they brought me more broth and another Popsicle. “Looks just like supper to me,” said the very hungry and less grateful preacher. Well on and on it went for a few more meal times until finally they brought me REAL FOOD. Broiled chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans have never tasted so good.
The moral of the story is obvious and simple. You see, the better I felt and the more I drank the broth and ate the popsicles, the more dissatisfied and ungrateful I became. It was surprising how quickly I forgot the days when I had nothing. And that is when I learned an important lesson. You see, when you become dissatisfied with what you’ve got just remember a day when you had less. It’s sure to mash your “I’m grateful” button.
One of things that God is working on in my life is this grateful thing. It seems He keeps bringing to my attention all that I have that I should be thankful for. I’m realizing it is a very long list. Through the years God has sent special blessings and special people to me over and over again. The special blessings were love notes sent by my Dearest Daddy in heaven. The special people were encouragers to walk with me along the journey. Together they remind me, they prod me to be thankful.
As you journey, as I journey, and we find ourselves tending to be a little on the ungrateful side…when we are no longer satisfied with chicken broth and Popsicles…maybe we can and should remember when we had less. Paul, who spent more time in jail for doing Jesus stuff than anyone else, wrote, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He would later write how he learned to be content no matter what and most of that he wrote while sitting in a Roman prison. How about that?
So, let’s be honest. Chicken broth and Popsicles still don’t make my top five list—or top fifty for that matter. But I can remember the time when I thought they were better than fried chicken and a banana split. It is all about perspective. This being grateful thing is something most of us will wrestle with as long as we are here on this earth. We probably should just hang a sign out that says, “Construction Zone Ahead.” Just remember, be grateful because something is always better than nothing. And if you listen carefully, you will hear the Whisperer whispering, “Popsicles anyone?” And he will smile and whisper, don’t worry…“I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne