all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
and forget not all his benefits—
and heals all your diseases,
and crowns you with love and compassion,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
and justice for all the oppressed.
America has a broken perception of reality. In this nation, we have gone far beyond "a chicken in every pot" to a warped sense of entitlement. It has become reflex in our country to assume that "normal" life involves a nice suburban home, 2 cars in the garage, the latest Apple device, well dressed kids, and a big vacation each year the likes of Disney or some other notable destination. If we don't have these things, those controlling the narrative would have us believe that we are greatly lacking or something is terribly wrong. In fact, statistics still show the vast majority of American households living on an annual income of $50,000 per year or less.*
While we have free will to adopt the world's view of such facts, our best hope comes in adopting a godly view of such news -- every good thing in our lives is a blessing from the hand of the Lord. Nowhere can that be witnessed like it can in the lives of Christ-loving families raising a child with special needs. Yesterday, I had the great privilege of passing on a terrific blessing that God made possible through generous benefactors. Our ministry held our annual picnic at a premier water park hotel in our area. The families were fed a beautiful spread of "picnic food" including items suitable to the gluten-free crowd. The kids couldn't wait to get their hands on the ice cream novelties for dessert, and there were rave reviews about how good everything tasted. The staff was so incredibly kind and accommodating to the families as well.
After enjoying the lunch, families headed into the water park for some lavish water fun. Kids were able to splash and spray from all the gadgets mounted on climbing towers and slides. Little ones could enjoy crawling at the edge of a zero-entry pool with small fountains bubbling up from the floor. One pool with a more traditional depth sported multiple basketball hoops for the energetic to enjoy. The truly adventurous made multiple climbs up 2 stories of stairs to ride down screaming-fast tube slides upon rafts or inner tubes. And of course, there was the ever-famous lazy river.
Words can barely capture the wonderment of seeing what this small miracle of water could produce. I couldn't help but get choked up as I watched wheelchair-bound children set free by floating in their parents' arms. Anxiety-laden children were smiling as they were soothed by cascading streams. One teen even learned the beauty of a simple wax ear plug set to help drown out the noise. Witnessing the whole spectacle truly moved the heart.
What I heard from families was a deep and sincere gratitude. People expressed that without the generosity of those who make such an event possible through their donations to SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES, they would never be able to afford such a delightful afternoon. I know my own family certainly wouldn't! With medical bills ever-knocking upon our doors, and the income usually running more in the area of reality rather than fantasy, our families don't have the means to pay for such things that many might take for granted. The little things are big things.
Perhaps, in many ways, these types of financial challenges and strains can be considered a blessing to families like us. Because we know that every good thing comes to us by the Lord's hand, we are much more able to enjoy life's simple pleasures. While the sorrow of our adversity can be so incredibly heavy, it takes so much less than ever before to bring us a smile. What a true blessing that is!
PRAY: Father, I know that every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand. Thank you for opening my eyes to life's simple blessings. Let me never be so focused on the sorrow that I miss the joy that You have placed in front of me.
*Statistics via Household income in the United States From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To view more terrific photos from our fun at Country Springs Water Park Hotel, visit our Facebook photo gallery.