We arrived safely to Don Pepe Hotel in El Valle, Panama last night around 8 pm. While advertised as a "resort", a hotel without air conditioning, with beds that resemble something more like box springs, and with the loud thunk-thunk-thunk of discotheque music coming from a bar next door would not meet most of your expectations of resort living.
However, after most of us waking up at 2 a.m. Saturday morning, two 2-3 hour flights, and a 3-hour van ride, we were happy to have a bed to sleep in and the added bonus of a fan in our rooms.
We have all heard it said that it is all about perspective. We know what it means, but many of us don't live it in our day-to-day lives. We know we should be thankful in everything (God even tells us this in 1 Thessalonians 5:18). But do we really do this in our everyday lives? I try to be, but I know I can complain and argue about things as easily as the next person.
On our trip to Panama last year, I started to understand the power of perspective. This revelation didn't happen by seeing how people live in another country or by what some people here don't have. No, it all started with a bunch of confused roosters at the Chowning's house.
Last year, Kim Fuller and I had the opportunity to stay at the Chowning's house instead of the hotel with the rest of our group. After the first night, we began to wonder if we had made a mistake. Not because of the Chowning's hospitality, mind you, but because of the misguided roosters who began crowing at 3 a.m. It wasn't just one night that they did this, but EVERY night. It wasn't just one rooster, but several and THEY WOULDN'T STOP!!!!!!
So, this is where the perspective thing came in. I decided the first morning that I had to come up with some kind of solution (other than cutting their heads off with a machete) or I was going to become angry and miss even MORE sleep. And I knew my attitude wouldn't be pleasing to God.
That's when I noticed that some of the roosters crowed 3 times and some 4. In my warped mind I thought, maybe the ones that crowed 4 times could be saying, "Hallelujah" and the ones that crowed 3 times said, "Praise the Lord!". And, what would be more pleasing to God than praising roosters? The Bible says that if we don't praise God that even the rocks will cry out in praises to him. So maybe praising roosters weren't so unusual. Throughout the rest of the week we had a regular revival going on with praising roosters everywhere!
By changing my perspective, I went from wanting to butcher all of the roosters to joining in on praises to God. I went from wanting to gripe about my less than perfect mattress to being thankful for a place to lay my head. And God reminded me again to be thankful this morning with another praising rooster outside my window. This one had a better sense of time, though...another thing to be thankful for!