It was 3:51 in the morning, and I was livid. I had just been awakened from a deep sleep after a late night arrival at my hotel in Fort Myers. In less than six hours I was due at a church to preach and speak the No Debt, No Sweat! Seminar. In the room next door, as one old song phrased it, "There was a party going on." I heard the conversation, the music, and someone with a set of lungs that could have scuba dived without the tank! Actually, I'm not sure what it was. What I knew was that it was the source of unwelcomed noise in the middle of the night.
Finally, I picked up the phone and firmly requested that security come up and quiet things down. It worked—for about twenty minutes. Then it started again. By then I was seething. "I paid for this room," I thought. "They have no right to destroy my good night's sleep." So again I called downstairs. Again someone came up and sternly required that the havoc cease and desist.
Finally, maybe half an hour later, things seemed to settle down. But it's what happened during those thirty or so minutes that I want to share with you. As I lay in my bed with an extra pillow over my head, some thoughts began to formulate. There was a bigger picture to be seen.
First, I found myself beginning with a comparative analysis. Compared to many other people around the world at that very moment in time (now almost five o'clock), I was having a pretty good night. I wasn't lying in bed awake because we'd just learned that my wife Bonnie has cancer. I wasn't a mother brooding in an emergency room waiting for the doctor to return with news about the seizure my four-year-old had experienced a couple of hours earlier. I wasn't in a warzone playing cards with my buddies (and probably listening to their music) as they kept watch so I could get in my two-hour sleep shift. I wasn't in a refugee camp in a Third World nation with thieves everywhere and an open sewer only feet from my bed roll.
No, I was in a nice hotel complete with a flat panel television, a king-sized bed accessorized with plenty of extra pillows, and a great air conditioning system—all adjacent to a bathroom complete with all the amenities, including one of those fancy shower heads. Besides, my sleep wasn't nearly as important as it would have been if I had to get up this morning and lead a squad of soldiers through hostile streets searching for IEDs.
Comparatively speaking, my life was a dream—even if my dreams had been temporarily interrupted. I also began to remember that this is how we grow spiritually: By turning the lemons of spiritual temptation into the lemonade of gratitude.
This led me to my second middle-of-the-night spiritual epiphany.
Actually this one was inspired by the words of that great twentieth-century American theologian, Bing Crosby. Do you remember White Christmas, the perennially popular movie he starred in? There's a scene in that movie where Bing wanders into the hotel restaurant in the middle of the night and notices that Rosemary Clooney, also unable to sleep, was also there. Bing and Rosemary make a sandwich and pour a glass of milk. As they seat themselves, Bing lets loose with one of his baritone bonanzas as he intones, "If you're worried and you can't sleep, try counting your blessings instead of sheep, and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings."
Wow. Thanks, Lord. That's solid theology. So, I began counting my blessings. Admittedly, it took a while for me to cool my jets, but guess what? The next thing I knew, the sun was shining.
December 8, 2010
Steve Diggs founded the Franklin Group, Inc. in 1972. For decades he owned a host of businesses, was a professional broadcaster, minister, college professor, recording artist, and authored 8 books and curriculums. Today Steve is a life-skill coach who speaks over 200 times annually at churches, colleges, conferences, and businesses on the topics of Christian money management and life-skills.
Steve Diggs is best known for 2 internationally acclaimed seminars that he has presented at nearly 500 churches. Steve can be reached through either of the websites below, or call him at 615-300-8263:
No Debt No Sweat! Christian Money Management Seminar teaches God's people how to use God's money God's way. More at www.NoDebtNoSweat.com.
ReTooled & ReFueled: The Essential Christian Life-Skills Seminar shows Christians how to live for the beautiful bye and bye—while dealing with the nasty now and now. More at www.RetooledAndRefueled.com.