I recently experienced one of my best days ever. I had a program in St. Cloud, Minnesota for an association of secretaries, and it couldn’t have gone better. They were a squirrelly group, and we had a blast.
When I stopped at Applebee’s for dinner on the way home, I was still on a bit of a high. A waitress promptly came by to take my drink order (a Cherry Pepsi). She went away and I scoured the menu. My mind made up, I waited for the waitress to return, to no avail. Although I was eager to get home to see my girls, I really wasn’t strapped for time and I had a magazine with me that I was eager to dive into, so I elected to be patient.
Eventually, the waitress did return, apologizing profusely. I assured her that there was no harm done, and she took my order. After a short while, she brought me my appetizer — hot wings. (I decided to splurge, since Kim normally isn’t really into spicy things.) When my basket was about half empty, the waitress walked up to the table with another bowl of wings.
“They made way too many of these for your order,” she said. “You can have them if you want; they reheat pretty well.”
I eagerly accepted, giddy at the thought of extending my hot wings experience over the course of two days.
Eventually dinner came as well, and it was good. As I polished off the last few bites of a steak, the waitress came bearing gifts again. This time she had an Apple Pie Dessert Shooter.
She explained, “This is a little something for being so late to take your order. It’s on me.”
Obviously, this dinner (and day) had just gone from great to AWESOME.
When the check came, I looked it over and noticed that I wasn’t charged for my Cherry Pepsi. For a second, I wondered if I had stumbled into one of those behind-the-scenes candid camera scenarios. You know, like a social experiment in which they give me all these extras that I didn’t pay for, and then undercharge me for what I did order to see how honest I am. Not wanting to end up as the schlub on some primetime television exposé (and because my Dad raised me right), I pointed out the error to the waitress.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” she said.
As I walked out the door, I had a free Pepsi, a clean conscience, and disbelief over what a great day it had been. (You can see how much food impacts my level of happiness.) Admittedly, some negative thinking invaded my mind, as I thought, “This day has been too good to be true. I wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.”
On the final leg home, I encountered a rain storm. The dark clouds and setting sun made for a spectacular view. And then, suddenly, a bright, vibrant rainbow appeared in front of me. Even before I had the chance to think about how cool it would be to see both ends of it, I turned my head and there it was: The entire rainbow stretched out in front of my car. It was one of the most glorious things I’d ever witnessed.
I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of peace and joy. The sight of the rainbow, and it’s reflection shining off the wet pavement in front of me, branded the day as truly remarkable.
And the still, small voice of God, sensing my unworthiness as I wondered what I did to deserve such a treasure, whispered, “You didn’t do anything special to deserve this, and nothing bad is about to happen. I love you. This is how I feel about you ALL THE TIME.”
If you’re like me, sometimes it’s easy to feel like God is up in Heaven, keeping track of all the good and bad things we do. He throws us a bone when we do something right and screws with our life when we mess up. But that’s not how he operates.
In a world that is broken, with millions of wounded hearts and hurting souls, God is endlessly trying to communicate the message of just how much he loves us. (Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that he actually likes us, too.) If we could ever truly get our heads wrapped around that, our world would look very different indeed.
Signs of this message are everywhere, but we are often too busy to stop, too blind to see, too deaf to hear, and too dumb to understand that his entire creation is whispering three magic words: I love you. Fortunately for us, God sometimes finds it appropriate — and necessary — to shout to get our attention. The shouting works, but life goes so much better when we’re paying attention to the whispers along the way.
I challenge you today to slow your pace and open the ears of your heart to listen for God’s whisper. What is he trying to tell you?
On this day, he shouted at me in free hot wings and rainbows.
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