I’m finding myself seemingly “stuck” on Paul’s command to “be well and thrive” in Philippians 4:4. As I mentioned the other day, I have been confessing that over my wife for the last week and the excitement within me has been going through the roof! Every time I speak it out I am reminded of Nehemiah 8:10 and Proverbs 17:22. The Lord showed us last night that these two verses have been a foundational part of our individual lives, our marriage and our ministry through the years.
We were watching a movie where a man and women were reminiscing about their first apartment and in particular when he had asked her if he should carry her across the threshold when they initially moved in. With that picture in my mind, I turned to my wife and asked if she remembered when I carried her across the threshold of our first little apartment at 3900 Montgomery Drive #3 in Santa Rosa, California, when we returned from our honeymoon.
She actually remembered and acknowledged with a nod and a smile. Then I recalled that I had just seen a few photos in an old album that she had compiled that we had taken of the apartment before she moved in. (I had lived alone in the dwelling for a few weeks before we tied the knot!) One picture in particular caught my attention. It was of Piper sitting barefoot on the bed with her haired all tossed to one side with a big, happy smile on her face. That pose got me to thinking about how it is difficult for me to think of more than a few times in the last 45 years that she has been without a smile on her face.
As I was praying Nehemiah 8:10 over her later in the evening after she had retired for the night, I felt the Lord saying that His joy has been, is now and will continue to be our strength. Then He basically repeated that statement concerning Proverbs 17:22 impressing me of the dominant role that the merry heart that He put in us as individuals and into our marriage has been, is now and will always continue to "do good like a medicine.” (KJV)
A few moments later when I climbed into bed I began to consider how different Piper was in this respect when compared to the rest of her family wondering why she alone was blessed with this gift. But then the Lord corrected me! He reminded me of some of the other pictures in the album I had been looking at which depicted other members of her family smiling and laughing along with us on various occasions before and after our wedding day. He said that they all had that joy in them, but Piper was the only one to really develop and grow it within her over the years.
There is one shot that shows Piper and I sitting on bench in my parents patio during our after the rehearsal dinner. My sister’s then very young daughter is sitting on Piper’s lap and we are all smiling and in fact, Piper is laughing very hard at something I was whispering in her ear. To me, that photo seems to summarize our life together!
When I was telling the Pastor about Piper at church on Sunday, I had to pause and compose myself as I explained that her sitting there quietly and sort of detached from her surroundings was soooo different than how she usually is. But again, like Psalm 23:4 declares, “Yea, though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death…” we are going THROUGH this season and will continue on with the joyful life that Jesus has given us.
That is Papa God’s command to us this day, as well as for everyday… “To be well and thrive.” To allow His strength to be our joy and our ever developing merry hearts to act as a medicine to the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial areas of our lives! Are you continually developing the JOY and the MERRY HEART that the Lord has put into you? Or are you letting the front page news of the day or the worries of life taint the way you act, think and feel? The choice is up to you! Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s JOY am I developing inside me today?”