...if I was on some kind of drug that made me happy.
I had a fellow christian tell me just last year, they thought the reason they didn't like me is because I was always so happy and they couldn't be. (They still don't like me)
I recently visited Audrey in Fayetteville, AR for a few days with the kids. One of the days I was able to go to one of her classes with her and walk around campus. While walking around I noticed not one person smiled at you, not one person looked at you for that matter. They all just trudged along with their Ipods looking mad at the world. Now, I know they weren't all mad at the world. That is just how we look when we are being normal.
I asked Audrey, why doesn't anyone smile? She said "Well, they're all at school" I said, "But that is such a privilege" She said, "Well, they don't pay for it, their parents probably do"
I thought, Who cares who pays for it?
This is who we have become. A people so blessed, we forget it is a blessing and even worse we forget to be joyful for it.
Paul and Silas sang while in prison. We complain in the Wal-Mart line. In the Wal-Mart line! The place we drive our CARS to, buy a bunch of things we don't need, and then complain about the line. Or, if we don't let the line seal our joy we let the long red light in traffic steal our joy. Oh friends, I am guilty of the same.
Every homeless person or hard up person I have come in contact with is happy. What do they have that we don't?
Below is an entry from my journal some years back:
Oh wonderful God, you have sent us an Angel. Floyd is his name. He came to us as a homeless man from Chelsea, Oklahoma. Full of love and joy. He has now gone but I pray we will never forget him. While we were visiting home last weekend, Daniel saw him sitting outside the convince store; no sign, no bags, just sitting. He offered him a ride. Then after hearing his story offered him our garage to sleep in. He was so happy! So ready to go find work, maybe go settle down, start a family. But there was no way Floyd could go find a job, or even start a family on his own without help. Floyd was slow, but he had something special. A gift. Joy.
Sweet Floyd. We didn't know what we were going to do, or how we were going to be able to tell him he couldn't work or probably "settle down" here. He has family in Oklahoma. On our way to church today I asked him if he would want to go back home, by way of bus. Oh, man! Was he ever EXCITED! He had just left a boarding house and not been home for years.
Well, we bought him a ticket. Alli was just so happy "Flo" (that is what she called him, she couldn't say or remember Floyd) was here and she was very sad to see him go. In just a few short days he had become family. He would crank up the music loud and just sing his heart out to the "good 'ol oldies" He ate all our meals with us. He always said thank you, I appreciate it, you're so kind. He was such a thankful person.
He was so happy to be going home. His bus leaves out at 1:15 am and he has been asking the time since 7:30. We watched a movie tonight, "Bruce Lee". Man, was Floyd excited! He loved it. He said it reminded him of going to the movies when he was just a boy. He kept complementing our stuff. Our house, our cars, our yard, and our family. And God, all of those things, other than our family, we are embarrassed of or unhappy with.
Daniel and I cried tonight after Floyd left. We thought, God, when were we ever as happy with what we don't have as Floyd? He never said one time: Man, I wish I had this or that and he had nothing. He never compared his stuff to ours. No, he took joy in everything. He NEVER stopped smiling, even though he had no teeth. He just wanted to sleep in our garage.
Lord, Thank you. Bless Floyd. Floyd cannot read, he can't read the promises in your word God, send him someone to be the word for him. And thank you for sending him to us.
Can you believe that? Even now, I am humbled by Floyd. He had nothing but the clothes on his back, yet had more thanksgiving than a woman (myself) with a closet full of clothes and a fridge full of food.
At the time we lived is a 900 sq foot house with two VERY small bedrooms, one living room, and a kitchen. We dreamed of bigger living. We had moved from a 4bedroom house for Daniel to go to college and thought we were making such a sacrifice.? Luckily, we had an old attached garage with electricity that Floyd was able to live in for such a short time. But it would not have been long before he would have shared our home if he had stayed.
If the Joy of the Lord is our strength, then why are we so sad?
Ezra told the Israelites, "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
The power is obvious. There is a great strength in joy... especially God's joy.
We may be the only joy people see, friends. I pray people don't like you because of your joy, I pray they just don't understand you. Then I pray they encounter true Joy, the joy of people like Floyd.
Jesus had that kind of joy. Nobody liked him.