Over the last couple of weeks I have been inundated with phone calls from clergy and laity alike who are fearful about the days ahead. They watched Congress act like a bunch of spoiled brats and got afraid. They watched the Dow Jones average plummet and began to flash back to 2008. They heard the news of the SEALS dying and wondered if all was lost. I have not been immune to all this news but a recent conversation I had with God helped me to remember who I am and whose I am, and that—wow—I sure have a lot to be thankful for.
Hello God, it's Clif. We need to talk. Things are really bad and I am just a little bit afraid. The world around me just seems to be a real mess and I don't know where to turn but to you. I hope you have time to listen.
For the third day in a row I have lost a lot of money in the stock market. I am down nearly 15% from where I was just a week ago and, if you want to throw in the week prior to that, it is even worse. Lord, I don't want to work forever. I would like to retire. I have this plan and it is all messed up today. I don't know if I ought to buy, sell, or stay put. Please Lord, what can I say?
My air conditioner quit working last Sunday afternoon and it was 104 degrees outside. Now Lord, that is hot. When the house gets hot, it makes it hard to sleep or study or think. This wasn't a bill I had counted on having to pay either. Have you had to get an air conditioner repair man lately on a Sunday? Please Lord, what can I say?
I was on my way to the office and one of those little dashboard lights came on that said I have a problem. Oh, no! With the market down and the air conditioner broken, now my truck is in need of some work. When I got it to the repair shop they told me it would be $750. Where does that come from? I thought this truck was warranted for 100,000 miles, but apparently not for this repair. Please Lord, what can I say?
I got out of bed last week and felt a sharp pain up my leg. It came from my heel. Man, it really hurt. Do you know what it is like to have a nail in your foot? Yeah, I forgot, I guess you do. Anyway, I went to the foot specialist and got a special orthotic for "only $500." My foot is feeling better, but gosh I don't like feeling like stuff is breaking all the time. Please Lord, what can I say?
That foot stuff was not nearly as bad as waking up and having half my tooth break off while eating cereal. Right . . . cereal. Not exactly crunching ice. It was just Cheerios and now I have this big hole in my mouth where a tooth used to be. I don't even want to tell you what a crown costs . . . but let's just say it was worse than the foot. Please Lord, what can I say?
I guess I am done, though I have a lot more I could tack on. Any word on this?
Nice to hear from you, Clif.
You might start with, "Thank you, Lord, that I have any money to lose and that I can even ask such ridiculous questions like 'buy, sell, or stay put'." Then you could move on to "Thank you, Lord, that I have a house." Air conditioning is a nice thing, I am sure, but do you know how many persons in the world don't even have a house?
I am sorry your truck had a part that broke, but after 80,000 miles, some human-made parts do break. How many vehicles do you own now? Is it two or three? How about a "Thank you, Lord, that I don't have to walk everywhere"?
Your feet hurt, too. It is amazing how you humans have trouble with stuff that my chimps and gorillas never seem to struggle with. My fault or yours? Anyway, it might make you feel better if you went over to the VA hospital and visited some of my children who fought for your freedom in Afghanistan. They don't have any feet left to hurt.
I am sure that having a tooth break off was traumatic for you. How many different dentists did you find available to you in the Yellow Pages? What a blessing that such persons exist for you. Do you know that there are a lot of countries that don't have as many in the entire nation as you have in your little town?
Why don't you just start our next conversation with "Thank You, Lord," and then go from there. The perspective might help you out a bit.
This has been a wonderful conversation, Clif. It just reminded me of how blessed you really are. Now what else do you want to say?