Popcorn to Praise

Do you ever throw yourself a “pity party?” I suspect you know what I mean. You are having a bad day, month, season or year and you believe down deep inside you are not getting what you deserve. You have been a good boy or girl but for some strange, dark reason you did not make it onto to the blessings list. You find yourself living in the pits and consid-ering redecorating since it appears this is going to be home for the foreseeable future.

In the late 1980’s I found myself throw-ing a “pity party” for myself that would have made Job blush. At least he had what appeared to be good reasons for his frustration. I was just acting like a spoiled kid, throwing my mashed potatoes against the wall because I begged for French fries instead.

On this particular morning, my “gripe session” revolved around my disdain for my mode of transportation. I believed it was beneath me. I found myself driving an older model four-door gold Cutlass. We purchased this car because of our growing family so we could make room for the car seats.

During these challenging days, my Cut-lass developed a bad habit. There was something wrong in the engine and when I drove it, the engine emitted a strange popping sound. To be frank, it sounded like popcorn popping in the microwave. My girls found it quite helpful because they knew when I was coming home when they heard my engine popping its way down the street.

I had grown accustom to the popping sound for several reasons. One, I did not have the money to fix the problem. Two, I did not have the knowledge and tools to fix the problem. Basically, if a problem cannot be fixed with a butter knife and duct-tape, I am out of luck. Three, it was not all that embarrassing on the highway or when I was moving. However, I dreaded stop lights.

The day before I was making hospital visits in the North Dallas area and pulled up to a red light. I found myself sitting directly be-hind a gleaming, black Mercedes-Benz se-dan with a big green and gold “Baylor Uni-versity” sticker in the window. I, too, graduated from Baylor and I thought to myself, “Where did I go wrong? I graduated from Baylor, too?”

The next morning at the breakfast table my quiet time turned into a “pity party” as I shared with the LORD a piece of my mind—that honestly I could not really spare!

I complained about my old car—its funny noises. I griped about how it was unfair that I was starting a new church and I had to drive such a horrible car. I tried to manipulate my Father in heaven by suggesting my car was a bad reflection on His care for such a valued preacher like myself.

Right in the middle of my tirade, I looked up to see Kalie and Lorin making their way into the kitchen for breakfast. I marveled at the smiles on their faces and the wonder in their eyes. Right then and there, I knew I had made a terrible mistake. God had given me far more than I deserved and they were sitting right in front of me eating cereal and milk.
I lowered my head in humility and asked God to forgive me for my “pity party.” I thanked Him for all the countless ways, big and little, He filled my heart and life with joy.

I got up from the table, kissed the girls “Good bye” and headed for work with gratitude and joy in my heart. Interestingly enough at a red light on Main Street, my “popcorn machine” stopped popping and my engine purred like new. A mechanic told me that probably one of my lifters broke free, but all I know is God healed my heart of ingratitude and my engine of pop-ping. The Psalmist nailed it saying: “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good” (Ps 107.1 NIV). Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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