I woke up at 4:00 am this morning with a splitting headache. (I’ve got to get a different pillow.) I took an ibuprofen but couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to make the most of it by spending some time with the Lord. As I stumbled out of the bedroom into a chair where I usually go to pray my head was pounding. “Lord”, I thought, “I need you to take care of this headache if I’m going to pray. I won’t be able to focus with my head throbbing like this.”
Suddenly I thought of the story in Acts 16:23-25:
“When they had struck them (Paul and Silas) with many blows, they threw them into prison, … the jailer … fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; …”
Then I was reminded of the many martyrs who were burned, stoned, subjected to unimaginable tortures yet died praising God. But I can’t pray because I have a headache? What is wrong with me?
I have a comfortable home, a nice chair, my little “blankie” if I get chilly. I live in a place in time and a place in the world where I can freely worship. I’ve not been beaten “with many blows” nor are my feet in stocks nor do I face incarceration in a stone prison. I have an awesome family that all love and serve God. We’re all healthy and enjoying great blessing, far beyond anything we deserve, from our gracious heavenly Father. What more could any man ask for?
So here I am. Now it’s 5:05 am, my head is still pounding but I’m praising God because I’ve begun to focus on what I have to be grateful for instead of the “whiney baby problems” that are always there if I focus on them. I still feel like a wimpy witness compared to my brothers and sisters who have sacrificed so much for the cause of the cross but at least I have managed to praise God in spite of the pain. (I think it also helps that the ibuprofen is beginning to take effect.)
Let me encourage you to focus on the blessings.
There will always be things that could be better but …
there are also always things to be joyously grateful for.
2 Corinthians 4:17, 18 NLT
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.