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Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.  Acts 24:3 NIV

geshundheitA wave of sneezing washed over me.

As the violent sinus convulsions repeatedly shook me, part of my mind counted how many times my poor nose exploded. When the sneezing stopped at seven, I dismissed them. A measly seven was nowhere near my personal best of thirteen in a row.

I’m allergic to cedar and ragweed. Violently allergic. Unfortunately, I live in an area of Tennessee where cedars are prolific and predominant. On the earliest maps of this area, the land hereabouts is marked as “Cedar Forest.” In the years since, it hasn’t changed much.

Ragweed is an allergy of fall, usually tormenting us between August and mid-September. Cedars, however, are unique. They pollinate in the winter, usually on the coattails of a cold front. And they pollinate together, all the cedars in a particular area simultaneously sharing love. So if you’re allergic to them, it can make for a miserable couple of weeks.

Over the decades, I’ve often prayed for relief from my allergies, especially when they are at their worst. And for years, no answer came that I was spiritually aware of. Being spiritually aware was not necessarily something in which I excelled. God has often resorted to the proverbial two-by-four upside my head to drive home a particular point.

And then I read this verse—a verse I had read a hundred times before. Except that somewhere in my mind, my editor’s eyes discarded the “most excellent Felix,” and I read, “Everywhere and in every way, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” And that’s when God’s two-by-four whacked me again.

God has blessed me with good genes. I have been in good health almost all my life. From the time I had my tonsils removed at five years of age, I would live another sixty years before I entered a hospital for any procedure. That was for my cataract surgery last month. Except for run-ins with the usual childhood diseases, and the very occasional cold or bout with the flu, I have never been seriously ill.

And that’s why the allergy seasons tormented me. I felt so good the rest of the year. The two weeks every winter and fall were just the valleys I had to get through to appreciate the mountain tops of my otherwise good health.

Instead of complaining to God about my sneezing, I should have been on my knees, thanking God for the excellent health I otherwise enjoyed.

What do you need to thank God for today?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

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Kevin Spencer

Kevin Spencer is a freelance writer and professional editor and is privileged to be a staff writer for Christian Devotions.  He lives in Middle Tennessee with his beautiful wife Charlotte and his 14-year-old wonderful grandson Caleb. A former prodigal son, Kevin has been blessed beyond measure and lives a life far, far better than he deserves.