Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Ken and I set off for a mini-break in our motor home. We could see the campsite by the railway line before we reached it. We expected the field to be next to a pub and for there to be some train noise; the description of the campsite mentioned both. We drew up in the field and a long goods train lumbered by, “That’s the ‘occasional train noise’,” I said, quoting from the Caravan Club booklet.
We levelled our motor home by shunting around on yellow ramps until the spirit level informed us that we were more or less right. Meanwhile a single coach train whizzed down the line, not making too much noise but masking my “Stop” to Ken when he reached the top of the ramp, so the motor home landed back on the grass with a thump. A few minutes later, a set of four coaches rushed past in the other direction, “Three occasional trains" we chorused.
Ken hooked up the electricity and we supped tea watching more trains pass. We debated the use of the word ‘occasional’. Ken thought the noise was occasional, even if the number of trains was rather high. I pointed out he wasn’t wearing his hearing aid. In the end, we decided the inaccuracy of the site listing needed mentioning to the pub (and site) owners. Perhaps casually, after a meal, if we ate there. We had no expectations about the pub food.
However, on Saturday night we sat in the empty restaurant wondering whether we would have fared better if we’d cooked our own campers’ meal. But the staff seemed very friendly and were happy to make sure that no gluten passed my lips, so we placed our orders.
What we were presented with was absolutely delicious! Mine was the tastiest fresh salmon I have ever eaten, served with perfect golden chunky chips. Ken enjoyed a scrumptious steak pie, with beautifully cooked vegetables.
Somehow that word ‘occasional’ seemed unimportant. ‘Excellent’ was more relevant. We let our complaint fizzle to nothing and congratulated the cook.
Now, when I think about that mini-break I thank the Lord for the field, the trains, the time of rest, a chance to read a book, time with a grandaughter, finding a plot for my going-nowhere-WiP and enjoying some unexpectedly marvellous food.
I receive the #40Acts lent material. Emily Owen wrote about gratitude for day 26, using the bible verse above. You may know that Emily is deaf because of a progressive illness. From the tone of her notes for that day’s challenge she would have been thanking God for anything that wasn't as she expected because of that verse: ‘this is God’s will for you’.
Would we have eaten in that pub if we hadn't thought we had better put a wrong right? Perhaps not. We didn't exactly moan about the train noise, but I didn't thank God either. I want to be able to reach the point where I thank him for everything and trust him fully so that I can be used by him and not be distracted by unfulfilled expectations.
Annie Try’s new novel Trying to Fly is the first of the Dr Mike Lewis Stories. It is now available from Amazon and also through bookshops.
The second story Out of Silence will be out in September 2017. Both are published by Instant Apostle.
Annie Try is the pen-name of Angela Hobday, Chair of ACW.