There is power in thankfulness. I was reminded of this statement last Saturday night. Jolanta, Angie, Chris, and I left for Marshall, Texas on Saturday afternoon. Chris had played his game earlier in the day as Angie had cheered. We had just enough time to travel to East Texas Baptist University for the football game. We all entered the stadium as someone was praying from the public address system for the safety of the players. My plan all along was to leave after halftime to journey back to Baytown (since it is a four hour drive), but plans would soon change. We had traveled to watch Katey (our oldest) march in the ETBU Band during halftime. After the halftime show, Katey came to sit in the stands with us for a few moments with a request. She wanted us to stay until the end of the game and take her out to dinner. Immediately my mind went to the clock. I’m thinking (end of game, dinner, and travel back to Baytown) we won’t arrive home until at least 2:00 a.m. and I have to teach in the morning. But, then here’s my daughter wanting to spend time with her family. Well, you know what we did. We stayed until the end of the game and headed out for dinner afterwards. Because I’m the last of the big spenders (not quite), we went to Wendy’s only because it’s one of the few restaurants open late in Marshall. To be truthful here, I also thought it would be a faster eat, but I was wrong on that one. We walked into Wendy’s and stood in line behind four people. Have you ever been to a self-proclaimed “fast food” restaurant that didn’t quite live up to its name? Well that was the beginning of our dining experience. I actually felt sorry for the cashier (who appeared to be no older than 12) attempting to take the individual orders of the group in front of us. As I’m standing in line, inwardly I’m growing more impatient. I wanted a quick eat, but it was becoming increasingly obvious this would not be the case at all. Before long, there was a line to the door and it was apparent that those behind the counter were getting increasingly anxious about having just been slammed.
As I’m standing there a little unnerved, God reminds me of something pretty profound. It was almost as if I heard an audible voice inquiring about the subject matter of the message in the morning. Of course, we’ve been talking about living like Jesus and tomorrow’s message was going to be about the thankfulness Jesus demonstrated. Then it hit me, I needed to find something to be thankful for while standing in the fast food lane. I said, “Lord, I’m thankful for the dinner I will eat tonight.” Then it hit me almost instantaneously, this sort of peace feel over the entire situation for me. It was as if this attitude of thankfulness overcame my anxiousness for the clock. We finally ate dinner with our daughter and then dropped her back off at the dorm. Leaving the parking lot of ETBU, I thanked God for the good drive we were going to have on the way home (our departure a little after 10:00pm). I was concerned about getting “too sleepy” on the drive home. Guess what? I don’t think I’ve ever been more wide-awake driving in the early morning hours than I had been that morning. We arrived safely home. There’s power in thankfulness!