Song of Solomon 5:1 “I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.” He adds to our suffering his spice—that which brings out the flavor. What brings out the flavor in life? Do you know? I think it is thanksgiving.
There was a news interview with missionary Benjamin Weir who was held hostage in Lebanon and suffered great deprivation for over a year, and when asked how he coped with his suffering and kept from despair, he shocked the world by responding, “I counted my blessings!”
Blessings? In prison? Yes, he recalled that some days he was allowed to take a shower, and sometimes there were a few vegetables mixed in with his food. In The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom mentions feeling an overwhelming thrill over the sight of some tiny ants scurrying across the barren concrete floor of her cell, where she was imprisoned for helping the Jews escape from the Nazis during World War II. Yes, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12), and frankly, all who live at all shall suffer, but Christ will add to our sufferings His spice…all the little blessings along the way…so that if we will only open our eyes and see them, there will always be flavor in our lives.
Some years ago during the recent electrical storm and power outage, our family marveled at all the provisions the Lord had in place to make our lives easier. We had a lake for washing up, a swimming pool for a ready supply of chlorinated water (for washing hands and dishes), and free access to drinking water at the retirement center where my father lived. We had a woods for an “out house” and an old five-quart ice cream pail for an “in house.” We had flashlights for getting around at night, and weather that wasn’t miserably cold without our furnace. We had the convenience of a lovely grocery store for buying ice and food. In fact, when we counted up all our blessings, we had way more than we needed to be content and happy!
We imagined how devastating it would have been to have had our home blown away and our family injured. How thankful we were for that! The very first night after the storm, we gathered in our living room for a special praise service. We looked for the silver linings in the clouds. Yes, some of us got poison ivy from not watching carefully enough when we strayed off the path in the woods looking for “just the right spot” to water. But, we all learned to recognize poison ivy, and the importance of not straying off the path and avoiding poisonous things…even if they do look harmless! Yes, the children got computeritis from missing their daily dose of computer time, but we found that there were plenty of other fun things in life instead of just “the same old things.”
We thought about the simplicity of life when we go tent camping, and we appreciated all the comforts of our home that were still in place. Even though we didn’t have water, toilets, or lights, we had a dry roof over our heads, comfy beds, and no bugs or mosquitoes with which to contend! We considered those who were more unfortunate than we, and we helped our elderly neighbor clean up her yard. We noticed the blessings that arose from the situation, and there were many! After the electricity came back on, we had a new appreciation for the convenience of being able to flip on a light switch or…and especially…how nice it was to run to the bathroom and be able to flush the toilet! 🙂