The Shovel Spoon

  • Feb. 11, 2016
  • #8814

Sometimes we cannot receive the best God has for us until we lose something we think we cannot do without.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada saying, “God’s best is always better.”

The other day after work, my friend Judy and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner at a fancy restaurant. I loved the idea and I was so looking forward to relaxing in a nice, quiet restaurant with real linen tablecloths and linen napkins. Well, when we sat down, she looked in my handbag for my bent spoon. (I feed myself with a special spoon 'crooked' at a certain angle so that it can fit into my arm splint). But it wasn’t in my handbag – somebody had forgotten to put it back. Now Judy and I have been in this predicament before, so our first thought was to try to bend one of the restaurant spoons, but they were too heavy.

That’s when I groaned. I was so disappointed. Judy would have to feed me my dinner – I didn’t mind being fed in front of other people it’s just, well it just wasn’t what I had planned for a relaxing evening. Just then Judy piped up, "I have an idea! There's a kitchen store across the street. After we order, I'll quickly go over there and see if they have an easy-to-bend spoon." She left, but I wasn't very hopeful.

When she returned, Judy pulled out of the package the oddest-looking spoon I'd ever seen. She held it up and I saw that it was small with a flattened edge, like a little shovel. After Judy bent it and slipped it into my arm splint—about the time our dinners arrived—I was happy to give my new utensil a try. Guess what, it was perfect! It worked much better than the old spoon. We got a good laugh, because I never would have known such a spoon existed had I not lost my "favorite." I thought my old bent spoon was irreplaceable; the best and only spoon for me, but God had a better idea. And I only discovered God's idea after I lost "what I couldn't live without."

Proverbs chapter 16, verse 9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." You know, that verse really fits the story. Because often we cannot envision the better "new thing" God has in mind until we lose the old. I had planned to sit glum-faced at the restaurant, be fed, and be disappointed. However, God was determined to "turn my mourning into dancing," as well as teach me a lesson about His marvelous provision. Obviously our great God determines not only our steps, but sometimes how we eat dinner.

Now, you don’t have to be a quadriplegic who, like me, eats with an odd-shaped, bent spoon. But you can understand the point because there are favorite things that you have lost, too. It could be a treasured possession like a family ring or a piece of heirloom jewelry. Perhaps you’ve lost a dear friend. Maybe it was a job you lost, one that you really liked doing until you were laid off. Or perhaps you lost your scholarship to the college of your choice. Like me, perhaps you’ve lost the use of your legs or your hands. All of these are things we feel we just can’t live without! We have to have them. What will we do? They are our favorites! How will we manage without that job, without the scholarship and financing, how will we manage without that loved one, without the use of our hands or legs?

All good questions, but the next time you lose something, or someone, that you prize, ask God to help you to not be discouraged. Accept your loss in life and anticipate with great hope and confidence in God, for that "better thing" He has in mind. Because you know what? (and I speak for myself here) the "better thing" God may want to give you is a bright new attitude.

© Joni and Friends


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