Before I write about God's sense of humor, I'd like to apologize for being missing in action for a while. For most people, going without a post for 10 days wouldn't be unusual, but for me, someone who used to post on the average of every day or several times a week, it's unusual. I want to thank everyone who has emailed me to ask if I'm okay. I am, although I will admit that I was a little concerned about my health for a while. The totally ridiculous & unnecessary drama that occurred earlier this month, 3 weeks after my heart surgery, was not good for my recovery. However, I'm fine. Better than fine actually. At least mentally.
One of the things I've been doing while missing in action is reading. I just finished reading an excellent book by Kay Warren called Choose Joy.
In this book, Kay explains how those of us who are Christians are to be joyful in all things. This does not mean we have to feel happy when bad things happen to us ... illness, loss of income, the death of a family member or close friend, drama, etc. If we were happy about these things, a visit to the nearest psychiatrist's office would be in order. Being joyful is not the same as being happy. Happiness is a feeling. Joy is a choice. Kay's definition of joy is as follows ...
"Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life,
the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right,
& the determined choice to praise God in all things."
We praise God ... with joy ... because He is in control of our lives & everything will work out in the end according to His plan. It's as simple as that. We cast our care (1 Peter 5:7) & trust that God is taking care of things in His own way & in His own time. I think it's a good idea to memorize Kay's definition so it can be easily recalled during times of stress. It is a proven fact in the medical field that worry, anger, jealousy, hate, ill will, grudges, vindictiveness, irritation, resentment, bitterness, & all other negative emotions & thoughts have a negative effect on the body & open the door for sickness & disease. When people go out of their way to be hateful to us, rather than retaliate in kind, we really need to pity them & pray for them. Can you imagine being a person so full of hate & bitterness? I can't.
I highly recommend Kay's book. It was as a result of reading one of the chapters in Choose Joy that I became personally acquainted with God's sense of humor. I experienced firsthand that sometimes when God knows you need a good laugh, He sends you one. Kay ends each chapter of this book with a short prayer & a point or two upon which to reflect. At the end of the chapter titled "Adapting Heaven's Value System," Kay suggests prayerfully reading Psalm 119 & asks "Are there actions you need to take as you seek joy?" I hadn't read Psalm 119 for quite some time, so the other morning I curled up in my recliner with my Bible & spent time getting acquainted with it again. Here's where the humor enters in ... verses 69-70.
"Arrogant people smear me with lies....
Their hearts are dull & stupid...."
I laughed out loud when I read this! I totally lost it! Throughout the day when I would remember these verses, I would laugh again! I'm still laughing! I decided to look up the same verses as written in The Message Bible.
"The godless spread lies about me....
They're bland as a bucket of lard...."
I'm laughing again as I write this! Talk about putting things in perspective! The author of Psalm 119 is unknown. Some people think all the psalms were written by David. Not so. Psalm 119 could have been written by David, or Ezra, or even Daniel. Whoever wrote it described the plots, slanders, & taunts he was suffering during this particular period in his life. The psalm ends with the writer declaring that he can trust God's character & His plans & purposes in his life, even when affliction & persecution are a part of that life.
While preparing for this blog post, I found the following cartoon by Gary Larson, famous for his Far Side cartoons. Mr. Larson has a delightfully warped sense of humor. Having a warped sense of humor myself, I can really appreciate his work. I don't know this for sure, but I will venture to guess that there have probably been people over the course of the years who from time to time have not seen the humor in Gary's work, especially when his cartoons tend to tread on religious toes. (Note that I'm not saying Christian toes. I'm saying religious toes. There's a vast difference between being religious & being Christian.) However, I think God gets a kick out of Gary's cartoons. God gave him his talent & his humor & I suspect God enjoys seeing him use it. I'm guessing that Gary may have had the humorless critics of his work in mind when he came up with this cartoon.
Thank God for humor, including His own! Thank God for His Word! Thank God for His love! Thank God that we can trust that He is in control of all the details of our lives & that because of this, everything is going to be all right! Thank God for Kay Warren who wrote a book to help us learn how to have a joyful heart. Thank God for Gary Larson who makes life a little easier by extending to us the gift of laughter with which God blessed him. Thank God for so many things! Always!
I am offering another giveaway for my followers : ) Read carefully! As usual, my giveaways are for my current followers only. DO NOT mention this giveaway on your blog. To have a chance to win the giveaway, leave a comment here telling me you want to have your name added to the hat : ) Also tell me one of your favorite Bible verses & why it is meaningful for you. I know we all have more than one, but for the purpose of this giveaway, you just need to share one : ) To recap, (1) tell me you want a chance to win the giveaway, & (2) tell me one of your favorite Bible verses & why it is meaningful for you. The winner will receive a brand new, burgundy bonded leather, Pocket Thin New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs (NIV) by Zondervan. It's always good to carry a bit of God's Word with you in your pocket or purse. You have until Thursday, November 7, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to enter the giveaway. A winner will be chosen on Friday morning, November 8. If you are a no-reply blogger, please be sure to add your email address to your comment so I will be able to contact you should you be the winner of the giveaway. If you add your email address to your comment, I will not publish your comment so do not worry that your email address will "out there."
Best of luck to all who enter ... in joy!