Probably all of us can identify with the woman in the picture below. She’s after a pesky house fly. Flies are always distasteful and unwanted guests at meals. They annoy us to distraction. But this lady’s determined to kill it before she or anyone else enjoys a single bite of food.
Yet this presents a problem. Instead of sitting down to a relaxing meal, her guests are forced to dodge her attacks on the little fly – half watching the fly and half watching her. While the woman of the house persists in her fly hunt, no one can enjoy the hot, though quickly cooling feast before them. Her single-minded focus on this one blemish at the Thanksgiving dinner also makes her completely lose sight of combined blessings of the meal and her children and grandchildren gathered around her. Sad also is the fact that flies are common guests at meals. So this war against the one fly is probably a common scene at dinners.
Of course, many of us do the same thing with all of life. We demand that life be fly-free before we allow ourselves to enjoy it. Though a feast is before us, all we can focus on is that one annoying fly, flaw, or problem. And we will not rest until we rid our lives of every single imperfection.
But life will always have its imperfections. They are inescapable. And it takes a tough-taught skill to accept and enjoy life as it is – not as we’d like to make it. Most people come to grasp this reality and make a conscious effort to focus on life’s good. Some people, however, never seem to get it. Throughout their journey they lose sight of life’s blessings and are forever pursuing that annoying little fly. They not only sour their own lives, but spread gloom into the lives of others as they direct all attention to what’s wrong.
There’s a better way. “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” This command is repeated in Scripture dozens of times (2 Chronicles 20:21; Psalm 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1-26). Giving thanks to God honors Him as the source of everything good in our lives (Psalm 50:23; 69:30; Romans 1:21). Giving thanks to God also helps us guard against depression and anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2). For giving thanks to God reminds us of how good God has been to us and it fortifies our faith for the present crisis.
King David in the Bible faced danger, rebellion and open war from his own children, political intrigue from his enemies, and death many times. How did he keep his sanity and survive the stressors of life? He’d grab himself by the collar, turn his attention off of his problems, and remind himself of all the good things God had done for him.
In Psalm 103, he proclaimed, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things …” (Psalm 103:2-5). So forget about those pesky flies and focus on God’s bounty.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, open my eyes to see the treasures I already have because of Your unfailing love. Please let me never lose sight of Your blessings, but help me to count them daily. Amen.