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God, Sam and the chicken mush

Many people, especially those with a melancholy nature, myself included, tend to see things pessimistically, with all the mistakes, blunders and goofs bubbling to the surface of our memories like dead fish on a stagnant pond. When I became a Christian, I had to learn (and am still learning) to think optimistically like God thinks. For example:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31”

When I’m bogged down in pessimism, the Holy Spirit brings stories to my mind that remind me of the parables Jesus told in the Bible.

I recall a time when I came home from school and Mom and Dad had serious looks on their faces. Dad had baking soda all over his arms. They waited till just before supper when all five of us girls were home to tell us some bad news.We had two beagles, Smokey and Sam. They told us that earlier that day, Sam got into a hornet nest. Dad was stung thirteen times but Sam, hundreds. He was lying down in the basement. They didn’t expect him to live.

We started crying, so Dad and Mom got us talking about Sam and the funny things he did, how cute he was as a puppy and how he was such a good hunting dog.

“Oh!” my Mom said, running into the kitchen. “I forgot the chicken’s cooking!”

She deboned the overcooked chicken and put it in gravy and poured it over toast. None of us cared for it that much, and Dad, already in a bad mood because of Sam and the hornets, grumbled about the mushy chicken. “It looks like something you’d give a sick person,” he said.

All of a sudden, he got up from the table and walked out of the house. We heard him open the basement door outside and a few minutes later he returned with a nearly lifeless Sam in his arms. Mom made a bed out of a box and rags and Dad laid him in it. Then Dad said, “Get me a bowl of that mush.”

We watched as Dad gave a little taste of our ruined supper to Sam. Sam licked it up and looked for more. Dad gave him a bigger helping and soon Sam was eating greedily. We passed Dad all our plates and Sam gobbled up every last bite. Soon, he was on his feet, running around the living room, and wagging his tail happily. He lived many more years after that, continuing to be a great hunting dog for Dad.

Now, when I feel my life’s a big hopeless mess, I remember Sam and the chicken mush. God is so wonderful, powerful and loving that he can turn our biggest messes into our greatest successes.

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