” I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Ps. 27:13
Are you familiar with the “Glad Game”? It is taken from the story of Pollyanna (one of my daughter’s favorites), and it is worth contemplating today. The game goes like this: when you are faced with some trial or adverse situation, try and find one reason to be glad in your circumstances. The example given in the story was that, as a missionary kid, Pollyanna desired to have a doll of her own; but there was no money for such luxuries. She prayed for a doll in her heart of hearts, and when the missionary barrels were opened, she found that the gift she had received was a pair of crutches. Instead of complaining, she took hold of a glad thought– “Thank goodness I don’t really need these.”
This is an excellent mental (and spiritual) exercise. The sinful bent of our minds seems to enjoy rehearsing a disagreeable situation and formulating lists of reasons for being “justifiably” miserable. How effective this pouting is in giving our perception of truth a good skewing! It is all too easy to be like the Israelites and complain when things don’t go our way. Have you ever noticed how many times they absurdely pined away after their “good old days” in Egypt? It is no great wonder that God buried them up to their eyeballs in quail! What was the joy-quencher for God’s people (and it remains the same today)? Ingratitude.
A sense of gratitude goes a long way in fostering joy in life. Gratitude for 1)Who we are (children of God, accepted in the beloved, forgiven and precious in His sight), 2)Who is with us (God Almighty, God All Knowing…the One who loved you “just as I am”, and 3)Where we are going (no matter how “homey” a house is…it is not home for us as “strangers and pilgrims”–ever wonder why you can’t get the decor of your abode to feel “just right”? Perhaps this is why…God is preparing a place of perfect joy and blissful peace and satisfaction for each of us–a place where no sorrow, tears, disappointment or pain exists!).
The more we become smothered in the world’s sensationalism, the more difficult it seems to detect the subtle elegance of joy in the clamor of daily life. Television programming fairly shrieks with “wowism”. We are inundated with noisy commercials reminding us of all the stuff we don’t have. Like cheap perfume, cell phones, ipods, portable TVs and CD and DVD players etc. overpower and distract the senses to things delicately divine. How can one hear the joybells in the midst of such ruckus? Listen. Get quiet with your Bible open. Come to church with a quiet heart (which can take some real deliberation at times, can’t it?). Go someplace peaceful on your lunch hour. Get up an hour early. Do whatever it takes to be able to really hear.
Grasp gratitude, and take joy along through the day with you. Play the Glad Game today!
I will be still, my bruised heart faintly murmured,
As o’er me rolled a crushing load of woe;
The cry, the call, e’en the low moan was stifled;
I pressed my lips; I barred the tear drop’s flow.
I will be still, although I cannot see it,
The love that bares a soul and fans pain’s fire;
That takes away the last sweet drop of solace,
Breaks the lone harp string, hides Thy precious lyre.
But God is love, so I will bide me, bide me–
We’ll doubt not, Soul, we will be very still;
We’ll wait till after while, when He shall lift us
Yes, after while, when it shall be His will.
And I did listen to my heart’s brave promise;
And I did quiver, struggling to be still;
And I did lift my tearless eyes to Heaven,
Repeating ever, “Yea, Christ, have Thy will.”
But soon my heart upspake from ‘neath our burden,
Reproved my tight-drawn lips, my visage sad:
“We can do more than this, O Soul,” it whispered.
“We can be more than still, we can be glad!”
And now my heart and I are sweetly singing–
Singing without the sound of tuneful strings;
Drinking abundant waters in the desert,
Crushed, and yet soaring as on eagle’s wings.