So… I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed last night when I looked up at the image I saw in the mirror, had a momentary thought about the significance of the next day and simply uttered: “Big Whoop!”
You see… today is my birthday. But not just any birthday… it’s the big 65! I am now an official Medicare card carrying senior citizen… “Big Whoop!” Right? As I looked at myself in the mirror, all I could think about was how everything is just not the same anymore since my wonderful, full-of-life wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2010. “Big Whoop!” Another dumb birthday without her engaging smile, encouraging words, joy infusing and highly contagious laugh and that look of love in her eyes when she would look deep into mine.
So, I’m 65… “Big Whoop!” What’s to celebrate? Why even celebrate? What’s the use anyway? Blah, blah, blah…
Then as I was moving full speed ahead into quite a production of all the things that weren’t the same, of all the things that I thought were wrong, I suddenly heard a voice inside of me… and it was a very familiar voice that made me immediately shut up and take notice to what I was about to hear.
What I heard was clear and concise: “Why don’t you STOP complaining about what you DON’T have and concentrate on what you DO have?” And that was it… but you know… I didn’t need anymore! That one statement said it all and was exactly what I needed to hear!
So, without any further ado, I immediately began to look at my image in the mirror and declare what I do have, which included the fact that my lovely wife is still with me, that the Lord has blessed us with four wonderfully caring kids along with their spouses and the grandkids, that we live in a beautiful house on a beautiful piece of property in a beautiful scenic and quiet location, that we have one of the best medical care teams working with us for Piper’s good, that we have some of the best friends and extended family in the world, that all of our physical needs are abundantly met, and even for our big, goofy and wonderful fun loving dog who sheds his long hair all over the house and on every piece of clothing we own BUT ALSO tends to keep me laughing over his daily antics… and the list went on and on and on!
By the time I went into the bedroom, gave my wife another goodnight kiss, climbed into my bed and then turned out the light for the night, I was a changed man!
This morning as I headed down the hall to get the coffee going, all I could think of were Paul’s words of encouragement to the church at Thessalonica when he wrote: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 15:18 KJV) And I remind you once again that this verse DOES NOT say to “Thank God FOR everything” but to “Thank God IN everything…”
So, in other words, even though my head wants to shout out “Big Whoop!” and complain about everything that’s different, my spirit man on the inside of me can actually THANK the Lord for His hand and plan IN the midst of everything, DESPITE everything that is going on that seems to be totally wrong!
Paul seems to have taken the same attitude that king David took in Psalm 34:1 when he declared in the midst of some mighty rough times that “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (KJV) That word “continually” infers actions that are “constant and regular with continuity.” (See Strong’s and Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew dictionaries) I thought it interesting that the modern definition of “continuity” is “the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time.” In the movie making business it describes “the maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a movie or broadcast.” (Oxford online dictionary)
Continuity in a movie makes sure that everything is the same from scene to scene. So that what used to be common in the 1970’s and 80’s when a car suddenly changed from one model to another just before a crash scene (think C.H.I.P.’s, Knight Rider, Dukes of Hazzard, etc), or an actor’s article of clothing like a coat is on in one scene and off in the next … doesn’t happen anymore!
I think that the example of continuity in a movie is also applicable to a person’s life as well! By being consistently THANKFUL in everything, our attitude, our joy and our faith has a lot better chance of staying strong no matter what we face throughout the course of a day. After last night… I know it works for me… for I quickly went from “Big Whoop” to a Big Thanks! --- And on the positive side… I get to go off my diet and enjoy a BIG piece of chocolate birthday cake that our daughter Jamie is baking right now! Now that is a Big Whoop-ie!!!
What do you think?
Have a great mid-week, and as you do, keep saying aloud: “What am I expecting to BE THANKFUL for today!” (and don’t forget to answer the question throughout the day as well!)