Being Thankful For The Things That Don’t Happen
Be thankful for hard times in your life; try not to look at them as bad things but as opportunities to grow and learn.
I once read a story that I just knew needed sharing. It was a story about one man’s experience while in church listening to the preacher’s sermon. And like his mother-in-law’s comment which is shared within its wisdom, I am convinced that the moral of this story was probably a greater lesson than the one offered from the pulpit!
One Sunday, I was just sitting in church, listening to the sermon and thinking no great thoughts, when something landed on my ear. My conscious mind said “A fly” and I started to brush it off, but some other part of my mind said “No … too big for a fly. Buzzed too loudly. A wasp.” So I didn’t brush it off. I sat still in the midst of the congregation, slowly breaking out in a cold sweat, waiting for that wasp to decide whether it was going to sting me on the ear.
I waited for what seemed like a long time, but the wasp did not go away. It just kept walking around on the top of my ear, hanging on with all its many little feet. Finally I decided to swat it off on the floor and step on it. So I very carefully gauged where my ear ought to be–and swatted.
I missed. But I came close enough to fan the wasp, and it wound up sitting on the back of my right hand. It was a large, yellow-and-orange, very nervous, mud-dauber wasp, walking around in rapid little circles, popping its tail up and down as though searching for just the right spot to drive its stinger into my hand. I had absolutely no idea what to do next.
The wasp walked up the back of my hand, between my thumb and forefinger, and as I turned my hand over, began going around in circles on my palm. I watched it in a horrible sort of fascination, wondering how much it was going to hurt. So did my mother-in-law, who was sitting next to me.
I thought about trying to throw it on the floor, but chickened out. It would probably fly away before I could step on it, and if I really made it mad, it would either sting me or go sting someone else. Anyway, it didn’t seem particularly angry, despite the jerky movements of its tail. It seemed more interested in all that moisture gathering in the palm of my hand.
Suddenly, an inspiration! I stood up, held my hand as steady as possible under the circumstances, and walked out of the church. As soon as I got outside, I flipped my hand and the wasp flew away. As simple as that.
When I went back inside and sat down, several people in the pew behind us asked me with their eyes if I had been stung. I smiled and shook my head. They looked relieved. One man wiped imaginary sweat off his brow and tossed it away.
After the service, several people congratulated me on how cooly I had dealt with the situation, which I knew I didn’t exactly deserve, but my mother-in-law came up with the best line of all.
She said, “I guess Ben had the sermon for today: Remember to be thankful for the bad things that didn’t happen.”
I have thought about that, many times.
Ben H. Swett
How often do we go through life and think to offer prayers to God only when something bad is happening in our lives? I know for a fact that it is those trials that happen….those moments when I need to gain some strength from Him, because I lack it within myself….that tends to drive me to my knees. And it is often only on those special days that make up our calendar every year, such as Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving that we remember to offer a THANK YOU to God first….before we ask Him for something that will somehow benefit us or enrich our lives! How selfish we are! How selfish I am!
I wonder how much I would be able to find love within my heart for someone who has been unkind to me or who showed me this kind of selfishness and disrespect! Probably not much! However, no matter how unkind, mean or selfish we act, God ALWAYS loves us! Despite the wrongs we do, he forgives us, loves us, and allows us to face each new day refreshed, renewed and forgiven. Each new day is His gift to us to remake the person we are into the person He wants us to be! That is called covering our faults with His perfect love! Which is why we MUST remember to be thankful for everything He gives us…..both the good things that have happened as well as the bad things that haven’t!
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
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