Food you can’t have is incredibly good. Have you noticed?
Way back in the early 80’s when we first went to language school in the Alps Mountains of France, I sat in class, conjugated verbs, and missed Dr. Peppers. We couldn’t get them. Can you imagine a whole continent deprived of Dr. Peppers? That could lead to some serious behavior disorders.
Oh, I know the French have one of the best cuisines in the world, but I missed Dr. Peppers and Mexican restaurants and Iceberg lettuce.
That year one of our friends went back to the States for Thanksgiving and she brought me back a can of Dr. Pepper. I’m still kind of moved thinking about it. Well, not too much. Anyway, I put that can in the little fridge of our apartment (was that a celestial radiance emanating from it?)
When it was cheerfully cold, in an overwhelming gesture of compassion, I humbly shared it with my wife and three small children. When I drank my part I closed my eyes and had a vision (or something). I saw warm southern nights, baseball, America, family and all that was good in the world.
You know what? Now I can get Dr. Pepper at the little grocery store up the street from us here in Saint Maur, France or at the big LeClerc supermarket not too far away. And now that I can get it, I hardly ever drink it. It tasted better when it was scarce. Same for Iceberg lettuce and Mexican food.
We once drove about 60 miles from Albertville, France where the language school was located to Geneva, Switzerland to visit the only McDonald’s restaurant anywhere in the vicinity. And now? I usually avoid them when I can. They’re everywhere in France.
Now I’m missing the Cracker Barrel restaurant, real Mexican eateries and hamburger dill pickles. Most of what I used to miss is available now so I don’t want it so much anymore.
What I really, really missed was oatmeal cookies to go with my coffee. You know what? This year, “Hob Nobs” have arrived. They are oatmeal cookies from England. At first I was overjoyed, but now that I’ve got them, you know what…
THEY’RE STILL GOOD! And if I live a 157 years and have only a small nubbin of a tooth left, I’m going to use that nubbin to gnaw on oatmeal cookies. And when oatmeal cookies aren’t good anymore, just bury me because all my good senses will have left me.
Excuse me I got a bit carried away there.
Humans are strange. They want what they don’t have and often fail to appreciate what they do have.
Do We Appreciate What We Have In the Lord?
Lately, I’ve been reading about what Jesus did when He saved us.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3, 4, NIV)
Peter notes that we can certainly have sad moments because of trials but when we keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus there’s a remarkable ingredient added to the mix, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1, NIV)
So why is it that we go to work Monday morning with a face that looks like it belongs on a blob fish (The Ugly Animal Preservation Society conferred on the blob fish the title of the world’s ugliest animal. Take a look here if you don’t believe it http://life-sea.blogspot.fr/2013/07/blobfish.html)?
It’s the Dr. Pepper principle: what we don’t have is so much better than what we have.
Many times we forget to appreciate what we do have in Jesus-Christ. Ah, we sing about it, and preach about it but often we fail to press through to joy in Jesus. God made us for joy and when we’re finding none in our relationship with Him we cast around looking for it.
I’m convinced that the reason many Christians turn to adultery, idolatry of hobbies, and trying to change the world through merely human methods is that we’ve lost that joy that Jesus gives us.
How do you get it back? Well, it’s helps to meditate. Meditate? You mean like, “Ummmmm, ummmm, ummm”?
No, I mean you STOP and spend some time thinking about what Jesus had done for you. What’s He’s done in you. What He’s preparing for you. Then you say, “Thank You,” from the bottom of your heart.
“I did that Sunday,” you protest. Oh really? I saw you there (well, I didn’t really see you but I know you were doing it). There you warble in your customary place, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.” (Amazing Grace, John Newton). And you were thinking, “I wonder what time the Cowboys game starts. Hope pastor doesn’t preach too long. Boy, Sis Smith is really off-key today. She’s hilarious.”
“That’s incredible,” you babble. “How did you know what I was thinking?”
Well, it’s because that sometimes I …hum, never mind how I knew.
When we really take time to think about how incredible it is to be forgiven from our sins our dull hearts pings a little. We remember how He paid such a horrible price so that we could be washed from our wrongs and be accepted as sons and daughters of the Living God. That ping in our heart turns to a “bong!” and tears begin to form in our eyes.
We sing with a bit more gusto when we remember how he answered our prayer when we were at our wits end. As we think about Him and talk to Him, it’s as if He were right there.
And our heart becomes thankful! Can you imagine that? Thankful! One of the greatest gifts anyone can possess is a thankful heart. It changes everything and pumps life all through our body. Don’t ever take Him for granted.
Can I make a suggestion? This is for me as well as for you. Instead of always wanting something we don’t have let’s be thankful for the Lord Jesus and the wonderful thing He did in our life.
The Lord is like a jillion oatmeal cookies. When He’s there in His presence and power we never get tired of Him.
“Behind every great man is a surprised mother-in-law.” Neil Kennedy