It was after 9 o’clock. My mom and I had just returned from an almost-fruitless shopping trip and I had just driven home in the pouring rain, trying to stay awake, straining against my gritty-feeling contacts to see the lines of the road. We hadn’t eaten supper, so I went to the fridge and got the lettuce out to make a salad, and I could see that some of it had gone past its prime. Yay! I thought. Just what I want to do after playing with rotten peppers at work this morning – handle more rotten food!
Here’s where a little voice pricked my conscience and told me it was time to be thankful. So, I started thanking God for things in spite of my grudging desire to keep feeling disappointed and frustrated. I thanked Him for a nice home to come to, for Dad making popcorn and giving detailed instructions to the dog about why she couldn’t have any popcorn yet because it wasn’t buttered and she doesn’t eat the unbuttered ones, and then the final blow to my selfish behavior – I thanked the Lord that we had enough food around so that when it started going bad we didn’t have to eat it anyway. And believe you me, after smelling those peppers and sorting through that slimy lettuce, did the mental picture of having to eat that ever stop my ungratefulness in its tracks! Because there are people in the world who don’t have the luxury of having such an excess of food around that it can sit around long enough to go bad.
So this got me thinking again about something that I’ve pondered before – what thankfulness does for us. When I start thanking God for things, I usually get the right perspective back – instead of focusing on my “big problems” (which are usually not so big – don’t we so often handle the truly big issues better than the little annoying frustrations? Maybe it’s because the big issues also tend to put things into perspective for us.), it reminds me of how blessed I truly am – that I have a pleasant home to live in, a whole family, a nice warm bed to sleep in, good food to eat, my health, and most of all, Christ as my Savior and the freedom to worship Him openly! People in other countries don’t have these things. And I complain. So wrong.
One last thing that thankfulness does for us:
*image from here