"This ice cream has too much flavor," wailed my seven-year-old son as we sat outside our local Coldstone Creamery, "enjoying" our summer-afternoon treat.
Ummmm...what? I mean, don't me wrong. It is upsetting when ice cream has too much flavor. My son obviously prefer a more bland variety of the highly caloric treat. Who wants their daily calorie intake to taste good, anyway?
My son was in the midst of an epic meltdown, all while his ice cream literally melted down...his hand. He was thirsty. His ice cream was too flavorful. He didn't ask for a waffle cone (waffle cones are apparently the worst).
It was truly a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
And I? I wanted to hang my son up by his toenails and let him experience a real hardship. (I'd never do this, mind you, but I wanted to; I'm guessing you've wanted to do something similar before, too.)
The lack of gratitude my son was showing astounded me. It disgusted me. I was trying to give him a special treat, a gift in the form of some lactose-heavy goodness, and all he could do was complain. About Coldstone Creamery ice cream. #SMH
I grew more and more frustrated, and I might have snapped at him once or seventeen times while he continued to complain. Why couldn't he just show some gratitude?
Why is it so hard for me to show some gratitude? For you?
Our heavenly Father is the greatest of all gift givers, and He loves to pour out his goodness on His children. He offers me better than Coldstone chocolatey goodness, and what do I do too often in response? I sit across from Him and make my list of complaints.
The promotion wasn't what I expected, and I only ended up with a 5% salary increase.
The contract on the newer, bigger house fell through, and now we might have to stay longer than we planned in our current home. The one with a roof that rests over our heads.
We have to make some budget cuts, and the first thing to go is the budget for eating out, which means no restaurants for us for the foreseeable future.
I'm tired of taking care of my family and house, and all I ever do is clean up after the children He's given me, wash the dishes that were dirtied by the meals we ate, and launder the mountains of clothing we own.
Somewhere tonight a mother is crying over the loss of her child. I'm tucking mine into bed.
795 million people don't have enough food to live a healthy life, and today we "had" to eat leftovers for dinner.
People with more melanin than I have automatically grow up under a cloud of suspicion in this, the land of the free and home of the brave, and somehow I have white skin and am not considered a threat when I'm pulled over for a busted tail light.
We have more than enough, not just materially speaking, but spiritually. In Christ we live and move and have our being. We are made to be more than conquerors through the Spirit of God living in us. What can this world take from us? Our lives? Even then, we live. We have nothing to fear, nothing to cling to that will satisfy our deepest desires more than Christ.
If we lack finances or food but have Christ, we have everything we need.
If we find ourselves without a place to call home but we press on toward our eternal home with Him, we have everything we need.
If we lose our lives we find true Life, and we'll have everything we need.
Don't be obsessed with getting more material things...since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote, "God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can come to get me?" -- Hebrews 13:5-6 MSG
Let's don't look the ultimate Gift Horse in the mouth. Let's don't sit outside of Coldstone with Him, complaining about how much flavor our ice cream has. May we live every moment with authentic gratitude, seeing every gift He's given us for what it is: undeserved and precious.
As for my son, he's still learning this lesson, too. Next time he wants ice cream I'm gonna freeze a cup of skim milk and then let him hack away at it with a spoon. Should be bland enough, right?