Monday, November 10, 2014

Popsicles and Prepositions

photo licensed from istock by Getty Images

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 
(1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)

The medical staff was deliberately trying to dehydrate me.

My body, overcome with a toxic staff infection, had gone into respiratory arrest. The only way to keep me alive at that point was to place me in a medically induced coma, and put me on life support.

After a few days of having a ventilator do my breathing for me, I was brought out of the coma, but I was still on oxygen. The doctors were concerned that my lungs would never be strong enough again to allow me to be weaned off oxygen and be able to breathe on my own.

An ICU nurse I nicknamed “Sarge,” was tasked with my breathing therapy to strengthen my lungs.

I didn’t like Sarge at all. I resented Sarge.  I dreaded seeing her come into the room, and I dreaded the ordeal I knew she was about to put me through every time she came into my room.

In that moment, under those circumstances, I took out all my frustration and anger at my circumstances on Sarge. Never once was I thankful for Sarge.

Sarge saved my life. Looking back now I owe Sarge a debt I cannot pay.

Sarge is the reason I went home a few days later breathing on my own and completely free from the need to be on oxygen.

Under doctor’s orders to dehydrate my body in an attempt to drain the toxic buildup in my system, Sarge would force me to do my breathing exercises and therapy over and over. My reward at the end of each session would be a small cup of ice chips.

I so craved water. I so needed hydration .I would do anything Sarge wanted, so that I could get that small cup of ice chips.

I never knew anyone could be so thankful for a cup of ice.

On the day Sarge felt I was ready, they took my oxygen mask off for good. My reward was a small sugar-free grape Popsicle.

I would not have traded that grape Popsicle for a million dollars.

I savored every small bite. I felt it roll over my lips and down my throat. I smacked my lips in anticipation before every bite. I think I still taste it.

And in that moment, I have never been so grateful or thankful for anything in my life, as I was that grape Popsicle.

I was still hospitalized. I was still facing a year to fully recover and I was still deathly sick.

But I was thankful in that moment.

That’s when I learned the simple power of a preposition. The preposition “in” is a lot different from the preposition “for.”

When you learn the difference between those two prepositions it will change your life, and your attitude towards thankfulness.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  
(1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)

Notice the verse says “in all circumstances,” not “for all circumstances.”

That’s a game changer. We may not like our circumstances, we may not like our current situations, we may be frustrated and in despair about our situations.

We may not feel thankful at all for those situations, but we can always find a way to be thankful in those circumstances.

As long as you and I try to place our joy, contentment, and happiness in our surroundings, experiences, and circumstances, we will never find lasting, sustaining joy or gratitude.

The only way we can find the essences of gratefulness, and thankfulness, is in, and through, our relationship with Christ.

Imagine you have been walking through the dry desert for several weeks with no water or food at all. Now imagine I found you and offered you a small jar of cooking oil.

Are you excited?

How about if after three weeks of no food, I offered you a bag of flour? Perhaps some salt? What about some sugar for your dry, parched lips and throat?

Sill not interested?

What if I threw in a box of baking soda?

None of those items by themselves sound appealing at all to a person who is starving for food and sustenance.

But mix all those raw ingredients together and let them “cook under fire” and you end up with a delicious cake.

Sometimes God is baking our lives under fire.

Give thanks when he does. even in the raw ingredients of life.

Breathe his presence in, and smell the cake he is preparing for you.

The power of the preposition.

Give thanks.

In all things.

PRAY: "Father, we do give you thanks in all things, for you sustain us, you nourish us,and you give us life."

-Jeff Davidson


Jeff's new release No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches is now available at Amazon.combarnesandnoble.com, and booksamillion.com.

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