The last several months have been rather busy with hardly a break anywhere. Sometimes the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I get so busy we forget about the necessity of taking a break every now and then. Soon one day becomes just like the last day. And tomorrow? Will be just like today.
We did take a little break and went out for supper one evening at one of our favorite restaurants. This has become a rather rare occasion and so we tried to enjoy the moment as much as we could.
We were chit chatting and enjoying our company as the waitress brought our food to us. It was a delicious meal and I was beginning to enjoy myself, maybe just a little too much.
“You know,” I said rather cheerfully, “what I really wish for?”
Not knowing where I’m coming from my wife said, “I really have no idea what you’re wishing for right now. Just be careful what you wish for.”
Staring off into space a little bit I responded by saying, “I wish I could take a week off and do nothing.”
When she finished laughing she said, “Don’t wish for something that you can’t follow through on. You know that’s not possible.”
Together we laughed and enjoyed that far-reaching impossible idea.
A week later, almost to the day, I was scheduled to go to my doctor for blood work. It was on a Monday and the day before I had pain in my right shoulder all the way down to my fingertips.
I showed my arm to the doctor and there was a little rash beginning to develop near my elbow. The doctor looked at that, smiled wickedly and said, “You have shingles.”
I have heard of shingles, but I did not know anything about it.
After further examination, he confirmed his first guess and said, “You do have shingles and it’s good that you’re here today because we got it just in time.”
In first grade, I had chickenpox and so I have been carrying this shingles virus all these years. I did not know I had a carrying license for shingles. Why doesn’t the government get on that?
The visit with the doctor was just the beginning. From then on, these shingles went crazy. They were dancing up and down my right arm as though they owned it. Up to this point, I thought I knew what pain was all about. Boy was I wrong.
The shingles virus affects the nervous system and it was from the top of my shoulder to the tip of my fingers. I have never experienced pain like this before.
For the next week, my wish for nothing to do came true, proving my wife was really wrong. I spent most of the time in bed doing nothing but groaning in pain. I’m not sure this was what I had in mind in my wish.
For every bad thing that happens there is always something good that comes out of it. The good that came out of this was I lost 11 pounds during that week. I’m not recommending this as a form of diet, but I did lose that weight and I guess I’m thankful for that.
I was feeling really sorry for myself. My right arm is only about 75 percent active right now. That is a real bummer to be sure. I managed to go to Wendy’s and as I was in the drive-through lane waiting for my turn to order I saw a man come out of the restaurant and he did not have a right arm.
When I saw that I became thankful for the pain I had because at least my arm was intact and one day this pain will go away.
The apostle Paul understood this when he wrote, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20).
It’s very easy to complain about something that you are going through, but when you see someone else going through something worse, it is a point to which you can really thank God. My thanks to God is not based upon good times, but rather the faithfulness of God to get me through bad times.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543, 352-687-4240 or e-mail email@example.com. His website is www.jamessnyderministries.com. The church website is www.whatafellowship.com.
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