Faith, Personal

Three good things

A couple years ago a friend sent me a link to an article (which I can’t find now) about the virtues of thinking each day of three good things that had happened. She and I decided to try it together, e-mailing each other our list of three every evening. I was surprised to find that on all but the most challenging days I could find at least three pleasures, even as small as “I enjoyed my cheeseburger at lunch,” and recalling them actually relieved some of the day’s pressures. But optimism never swelled in me, as the article promised, and I started to lose interest. I think my friend did, too, because our e-mails became intermittent and then stopped.

One of the themes of Ecclesiastes is, “Life is difficult, so enjoy the good things God gives you while you have them.” The book calls out several good things – spouses, children, youth, food, drink. The more I encountered that theme as I studied Ecclesiastes late last year, the more I thought about the aborted three-good-things exercise. I decided to give it another try – but this time, I would tell my three daily things to God, since he gave them to me.

In these prayers I soon found myself grateful to God for each day’s good things. Moreover, I started to see that God was there with gifts on every single day, and the more difficult the day, the more subtle – but sublime – the gifts. I started to feel like a child on Easter morning looking for hidden eggs.

My car

My car

Last Thursday I was driving home from a trip to Brown County with my sons when my car’s transmission started to whine, pop, and grind. I wasn’t sure the car would get us home, and we had 50 miles to go. I was worried about being stranded and about the repair bill. But I also felt the breeze softly touching my skin through my open window and enjoyed the long shadows the trees and cornfields cast onto the highway in the afternoon sun. As the car rolled with the highway through the old farm towns, my sons and I sang along with the CD playing. I really enjoyed the drive even though the car occasionally popped out of gear. Not long ago, I would have experienced and remembered only the worry. Looking for God’s daily gifts has made me more receptive to them when they come. And knowing that there are daily gifts takes some sting out of the difficulties. My mechanic just called to say the transmission is fried, and that it will cost upwards of $3,000 to replace it. I’m sure God has hidden a gift even in this.

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5 thoughts on “Three good things

  1. hoosier reborn says:

    One good thing about my basement flooding, it will cost half of what your transmission will cost to fix.

    Ouch!

    It’s all those Michigan Road miles you’ve been racking up!

    Kurt

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  2. Sorry to hear about your Matrix transmission. I liked that you were able to trust God and still be able to enjoy the day. Before my summer trip this year, I spent about $1000 on repairs to get the ‘check engine’ light to go out on my Matrix. Then two weeks later, I am up in Manitoba and the light comes on again. I thought to myself, ‘do I let this get to me or not?’ So I decided that I had done all that I could do for the car before the trip, and that I would just pray about it and enjoy my vacation. I didn’t even tell my wife and family because I knew they would worry… I decided to simply ignore it. And what do you know, four days later, within an hour after we had crossed back into the U.S., the light went out and has stayed off for over a month now.

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  3. Chris, after the transmission started whining and grinding, I said to my sons, “I sure hope this thing gets us home!” My 11-year-old said, with full certainty and confidence, “It will.” It was as if God Himself had said so, and it freed me to enjoy the ride.

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