I don’t know how the Lord may speak to you, but for me it usually starts with a thought, or a memory and many times just one word that sticks in my mind. That happened to me on this last Friday when I when the thought of “Being HAPPY” popped into my mind. Those two words sent me off on a whole set of rabbit trails as I found myself reviewing my life over the last few years, up to and including the present day’s activities.
My first thought was that we haven’t been on a real vacation for ten years! The last really restful and fun vacation my wife and I had was taking the trailer alone up to our favorite camping and hiking spot up in the northeastern Sierras in northern California in celebration of our thirtieth anniversary. It was also the first time in our entire marriage that we had been away from the kids simply for a whole week’s vacation!
In the past we had gone away for a week a number of times but it was always for church leadership conventions. And while we always enjoyed those times, they encompassed sticking to a strict schedule of early mornings, late nights and various classes or sessions throughout the day including a long evening meeting. We always came home spiritually refreshed and charged… but not so physically!
Following our thirtieth anniversary trip we moved to Oklahoma where our “vacations” consisted of flying back home to visit family and friends and drive the kids all over the county to visit their friends. Don’t get me wrong… it was great to be with family, but by the time we dragged ourselves into our front door in Broken Arrow, we were ready for a REAL vacation! After Oklahoma we moved back home and then here to North Carolina and have been earnestly fighting the good fight of faith for my wife’s health ever since.
I found myself laughing on many occasions over the weekend whenever my wife and I were out and about on a walk or enjoying the breeze with the top down on the car. I guess you could say that our daily walks and excursions in our convertible are our brief vacation splurges! I would chuckle as I thought about the Lord’s words of “Being HAPPY” and was reminded of various conversations with folks who would be complaining to me about how busy, tired and stressed out they were and that they just needed to “get away” for a well-deserved rest. It was funny because I would think about how we’ve been through similar events, but that point never came up in the conversations.
Please understand that I am not against vacations. I believe that they are part of God’s plan for us! But I also believe that He gives us strength and fortitude to do what we need to do when times get a little hard. Which is what I know that He is doing for my wife and I. Believe me though, I have our next three or four vacations all planned when Piper is able to go on them!
The more I meditated on the Lord’s two words to me, I began to reconsider if vacations, rest times, healthy bodies, financial security and mental and emotional peace is what He would consider as the main ingredients to “Being HAPPY?” As I began to look up “HAPPY” in the Word of God, I was a little surprised at what I think is the simplicity of His definition. I’ll be sharing more on this subject throughout the week, but for now I will leave you with a little teaser!
Psalm 37:4 wet my taste buds when I read “Be HAPPY with the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (God’s Word ©) What does He mean by that? Is it that simple? Is that really an easy thing to do? I gathered that it must be somewhat of an important topic to the Lord as there were 117 matches to my search on the word “HAPPY” in my God’s Word © translation of the Bible. I do believe that He wants us to be HAPPY in our lives… don’t you? But He tells us to be “HAPPY” with Him.
I can honestly say when I think about it, that my HAPPIEST times of the day are usually in the mornings when I am alone with Papa God in the study of His Word. Those daily fortifications help me through the tough get-up and go first-thing-in-the-mornings with my wife like on last Thursday as well as with the easy and encouraging ones like on the following day when the first thing Piper did when I woke her up was to flash me a smile!
His Word truly does make me HAPPY! I had a few times yesterday when it was the only thing that helped me past a few experiences when my wife was momentarily not able to stay steady on her feet. The promises and truth of His Word that are in me is what gave me the physical and mental strength to assist her as well as the ability to believe and smile for her even though what I saw with my eyes was not very encouraging.
Then there was the time just before we went to bed last night when I leaned over and proceeded to knock over and spill her medicine and send my glass of ice tea flying off the table next to the couch with the result of sticky medicine and tea all over me, the area rug and the floor, broken glass everywhere and a nice line of blood on my arm! Makes for a sweet end to your day, you know!
Once again it was the Word (as well as the interesting look on Piper’s face) that kept me from losing it! By the extended time it took to clean it all up, I must admit that I was smiling again! I am thankful that the Lord has given me the ability, at times, to simply smile instead of saying something that I might regret! I can’t say that the desire of my heart was to experience that little catastrophe at ten o’clock in the evening, but at least by the time it was over I can honestly say that I was HAPPY again!
Hummmm… maybe there is something with God’s encouragement “to be HAPPY with the Lord…” Stay with me this week and let’s see just what God’s definition of “HAPPY” is! In the meantime, have a great week! Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s HAPPINESS am I expecting to find today?”