Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Caleb and the Cotton Candy Calamity – A Thanks-Not-Giving Story

Children do some things fabulously well. Joy is one of them. They spin around, sing, shout, giggle, and run with wild abandon. You know why? They don’t carry their burdens. They know they depend on everyone for everything all the time. Dependency is their way of life. Bravo, kids. I want to be more like you. 

But they are fabulously terrible at other things. 

Once upon a time, a first-grader named Caleb got to go to Disneyland. His parents saved for months. They drove for days. They walked for hours, from ride to ride, show to show, souvenir shop to souvenir shop. His parents bypassed the coolest rides, shows, and restaurants because Caleb was too young for them and this trip was for him. 

Then somewhere between standing in line to get Phineas and Ferb autographs and a character meal, young Caleb decided he wanted cotton candy. If they were to stop for cotton candy (there was a long line for that too) they would be late for the character meal, so they didn’t get the cotton candy. 

Caleb was cross. He complained about the walk, about the heat, about the bags, and about the crowds. When Lilo & Stitch came his way at the restaurant, he turned away, fighting back tears. 

Dad talked to Caleb about how hard they’d worked to make that trip a success and about all the fun things they’d done already. He told Caleb he was yet to hear a “thank you.” 

Caleb lowered his head, let the tears fall, and said, “thank you.” 

No, I don’t have a boy named Caleb. I made him up after hearing my pastor talk about a similar situation during one of their family trips to Disney. But we all know a Caleb—we’re probably raising one. 

Surely we’re quick to spot thanklessness in our children, like David was quick to spot the error of the rich man in Nathan’s parable of the ewe lamb. But how about us? Are we like Caleb toward God? Do we cry and whine about cotton candy when He’s taken us to Disneyland? 

I know I am. Getting published is my cotton candy. I have all the things I really need and plenty of extras, but that cotton candy (so fluffy, so sweet, and so pink!) allures daily. Like Caleb, sometimes I’m so busy wanting cotton candy that I forget to thank my Heavenly Father for all He’s given me already. 

Good thing God loves us even when we act like rotten kids. Good thing He forgives us as often as we confess, and delivers us every time we cry unto Him. But I don’t want to treat God like my kids treat me half the time. Good grief. I don’t want to be like children when it comes to thanks-not-giving. 

Psalm 107:8 (and 15, and 21, and 31) – “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” 

I’m so sorry for taking my many blessings for granted sometimes, Lord. Thank you for Disneyland, for the rides, for the souvenirs, and for all the wonderful adventures—no cotton candy required. 

What’s your cotton candy?

Patricia Beal is a Christian author, Army wife, and ballerina. She writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. 

Patricia is from Brazil and immigrated to America in 1992. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature. After an internship at the Pentagon, she worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. 

She and her husband live in El Paso, Texas, with their two children. 

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  1. Patricia, wonderful reminder. Thank you. It's so special for us that the Lord's love is unchanging, even when we don't express our gratitude. He doesn't begrudge us, get angry, give us the cold shoulder. He just keeps on loving.

    1. Hi, Ian! Special indeed. I'm still working on comprehending such love--the breadth, and length, and depth, and height - Ephesians 3:14-21 :)