I love Chinese food. I grew up enjoying a phenomenal Chinese restaurant in Jordan. In fact, that was my standard for Chinese food. When I came back to the States and realized that not all Chinese restaurants are created equal – and that, in fact, few held a candle to the delights I grew up enjoying – I was sorely disappointed. But, over the years I’ve figured out just which restaurants are good and which ones leave me better off doing without!
Fortunately, my wonderful husband shares my love for Chinese food. Our ultimate destination for good food is P.F. Changs. We only go a couple of times a year, and always without our children. It’s our special place. But, obviously, if we want Chinese on a more regular basis, we have to either go somewhere local or make it ourselves.
I was thinking the other day about the contrast between P.F. Changs and our local Chinese restaurant, Lotus Blossom. What makes them attractive to us? What motivates us to make a trip to each one?
For P.F. Changs, there are two things. Obviously, since we always go without children, we delight in going to P.F. Changs because it means that we are getting some time together – just the two of us. But, in reality, the food alone is enough incentive to go. As we were approaching our anniversary a few weeks ago, our mouths watered for weeks just in anticipation of the meal. Yes, we were looking forward to the time together, but we had to be honest. We wanted the food!
But, then there’s Lotus Blossom. In all honesty, the food is okay but not outstanding. It’s definitely not bad. I’ve had bad Chinese food, and that’s not it! But, if I’m really hungry for Chinese food, I can’t say that it truly satisfies the craving. (What can I say – I was spoiled growing up.) Bottom line, Lotus Blossom is such that when we think about going out to eat locally, it doesn’t typically show up high on the list – except in one specific situation.
In that one specific situation, I will admit that I really, really want to go to Lotus Blossom. Why? Because of the people who are there. Some dear friends go to Lotus Blossom regularly, and they are the type of friends whose fellowship and companionship are delightful. Any meal shared with them is a delicious feast, and that is enough to make us crave a trip to Lotus Blossom.
There are things in our lives that are inherently wonderful. We can enjoy them regardless the company or other circumstances. They are just delightful on their own. But there are other things that, standing alone, we could probably ignore as quickly as enjoy.
But then they are touched by Christ. He commands us to go forward as an act of obedience. He sweetens them with the presence of a dear friend. He uses them to grow us. He brings us a blessing through them. He uses them to work through us to bless or encourage someone else.
Whatever the case may be, something that is normally ordinary and possibly not even truly noticeable becomes something we crave. We hunger to return again and again because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has made it delightful. In fact, it often becomes more delightful even than those things that are just inherently good.
The beautiful thing about living in a vibrant and growing relationship with Christ is that more and more things in our life become our “Lotus Blossoms.” The more our eyes are open to the presence of God, the more we notice His hand in the things around us. The seemingly ordinary portions of our lives become more and more precious because we know they are of Him.
What are the “Lotus Blossoms” of your life? What things are more precious to you now than they were a year ago? May God begin to open your eyes to His work around you in such a way that the ordinary becomes more and more precious with each passing day. Who knows – you might wake up one day to realize that thanks to the hand of God, your Lotus Blossom has become your first choice!