The rich dark goodness slid past my tongue and down my throat leaving delights that I recognized as sweetness and warmth in its wake. Instantly I was reminded of happy holidays with family and friends. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the various parties and celebrations that surrounded them in years past. Their memories delighted my mind just as my tongue delighted in the taste of hot chocolate.
And then I was reminded of all the good things I have in my life... including the wonderful mug of hot chocolate in my hands. It was then that I also realized how selfish and ungrateful I had been today. It was a still, small voice inside me that seemed to whisper, "Did the hot chocolate relax your nerves a bit? Do you feel better? Do you have time for me now? I can do more for you than the hot chocolate can."
Perhaps it would make more sense for me to back up a bit. You see, today had been a particularly trying day. For whatever reason I awoke with a very sore neck and I immediately knew it would be "one of those days." You know the kind, when everything seems to take more energy than it should. The kind of day where you lack your normal level of patience and positive attitude.
I had set off to tackle the day as best I could. And although I did get things done my heart was heavy and my spirit was downcast. Any movement, whether sitting or standing, caused me great physical pain and as a result I was a bit testy with others.
By the end of the evening l had finally exhausted myself and was gingerly applying a heating pad to my sore muscles for the third time today. Relief was minimal but at least it was something. I could turn my head to each shoulder.
Shuffling to the kitchen I was scanning what else needed to be done before bed time when I spotted a pouch of hot chocolate mix and immediately set about making myself a cup. The moment the first sip touched my tongue I was truly happy for the first time since I awakened in the morning. I momentarily forgot my aches and pains and simply focused on the pure joy of chocolaty sweetness. I was relaxed.
And then I realized something. I could have been feeling this light-hearted much earlier today had I simply chosen to ask for help from God. To my shame I did not turn to the Lord for encouragement or strength to get through this day. Simply put I was being carnal. And I suffered for it.
It is true that talking to God would most likely not have removed my physical suffering but it certainly would have lifted my spirit and reminded me that I was not alone in tackling the struggles of the day. And even though I chose to run this day by my own strength, which wasn't much on hindsight, He still gave me good things.
The mug of hot chocolate I was enjoying was proof of the little things God gave me that I didn't need. The heating pad I used off and on all day to relieve some pain was proof of how He provided for the things I did need. And my sudden realization that I had been wrong in my choices today proved that the Holy Spirit was working to humble me and bring me to a point of repentance.
There is no excuse for my chosen behavior towards God or my day. And I wish I could say this was the only time it has happened but the truth is that I fail from time-to-time in my Christian walk. It didn't take much to discourage me today. A simple, albeit very painful, sore neck was all it took to keep me focused on myself. It was wrong and I had to ask God to forgive me. I will be spending time with Him before I attempt rest tonight.
I stated earlier that it seemed my sore neck happened for no apparent reason. But perhaps there was a reason. Perhaps God allowed it to happen in order to test me. Not that everything we suffer must be a test but He used my suffering today to show me areas in my life that still need His touch, His attention, and His strength.
So now I'm actually grateful for the pain. God taught me something new today and I hope I am closer to learning the lesson. And it amazes me how kind He is. God didn't clobber me over the head with guilt or worsen my condition. He waited until I was calm and in a state of contentment before revealing to me my wrongs. I'm writing this with feelings of conviction and encouragement. And I have come to learn that this is how God works. And sometimes... he even uses warm, delicious hot chocolate to accomplish it. :)