The current sermon series at church, right now, is "What Makes You Happy." Yesterday, we spent time in Matthew, chapter 5, with the Beatitudes. A couple of things discussed, stood out to me and sent my mind to a specific war that's been seething for quite some time now. One statement made by Pastor Andy was, "Troublemakers are troubled by your happiness." This rings very true in this war. For years, I've just been on the defensive, guarding my jaw and rib cage, taking the blows and thinking that this foe would eventually tire and seek another, "for whom (s)he may devour."
Another point made, was concerning the merciful; sparing people the negative responses they deserve. If you know me, then you know that I am all for mercy and grace. I've needed it several times in my life, due to actions on my part that were not the wisest. Thinking of this war again, how many times should a man suffer snake bite before taking a shovel and removing the head from the serpent? In my own times of being shown mercy, I've shown my appreciation by not putting myself in that position of need again. Look at it as a man forgetting his wife's birthday. She shows him mercy, and for the rest of their life together, he NEVER forgets again.
All that God provides us; mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love, should all lead to repentance and full acknowledgement of our sin and shortcomings. Yet, the rebellious, selfish, and disobedient heart always finds a way to place blame elsewhere and then finds just enough support to be comfortable with such a way of life. "Misery loves company", they say, and I know for a fact that misery is always surrounded by plenty of the miserable. Misery thrives on misery, itself. Happiness to misery is like sunlight and holy water to vampires. As Andy stated on yesterday, "Troublemakers are troubled by your happiness."
Rather than allowing itself to be consumed by the light of happiness, misery chooses to lurk in the shadows and only come out at night, to stir trouble as the happy try to rest peacefully. Thinking back to my foe, as I defend myself from its attacks on my happiness, I've decided to throw some punches of my own. "Hey rattlesnake!! Come check out this here shovel I just got from the Home Depot!!" I know that the battle is the Lord's, but there are moves we still have to strategically make in the process. We have to be sure our happiness, our homes, our children and our relationships are protected, strong and reinforced. Our children have to learn and know about the Mighty God who puts the enemies in their places, outside of our paths to happiness.
Remember the Dragon, by t the waterfall? Remember the Bear who won't be hibernating for quite some time? They are working to ensure that the troublemaker is held accountable and loses its fangs. I do understand mercy, but I also understand wisdom and folly. Allowing rattlesnakes to roam free in your yard is not wise. Eventually one will get into the house, spreading its venom among all it is allowed to bite. When I think of such, I'm always reminded of the constant turmoil and drama that Israel has faced to this day, due to failing at removing the remnants from the promised land, as God commanded. It's like allowing a spec of mold to go on living in your home. Before you know, it's all over the place, as though IT runs the joint.
"And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day......."
Today is a new day, and the message of mercy strikes me hard. Last night, or should I say, this morning, I had a dream.......somewhere between snoozes. I was working in the backyard when I came across a small snake. I had the water hose in hand, so I decided I'd just spray it, to run it off. It didn't really budge. Then I decided to go get the shovel. There was another, slightly larger snake in that direction. As I continued my efforts to make it to the house, I came across more snakes. They got bigger and bigger. At this point, I was furious that all these snakes were in my yard!! I made it into the house, then to the garage to get my gas can and some matches. It took a while but I finally had them and headed back to the yard to set it ablaze!! I got to the door, only to find that all the snakes were gone. Disappointed I was, because I didn't get to exact my anger upon them. As I paced back and forth, wondering what to do with this fire in my heart, I heard the echo of scripture, deep in my soul:
"All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17:47)
I hear you, God. Forgive me for losing myself, in myself. Thank You, Lord, for being the AWESOME God You are!! Bless my happiness! Protect my happiness, which encompasses all my loved ones and heart's true desires! In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN!
Troubled are the troublemakers, by your happiness. Have your happiness! Cherish your happiness! Enjoy your happiness! God will handle the troubles of the troublemakers, in His chosen way.
HAPPY TUESDAY!! I LOVE YOU ALL, EACH AND EVERY ONE!!!
The initial title of this post was meant to be "Bookends". I began working on this thought, earlier this year. It was sparked in a moment when I was trying to put into words, what exists between the souls of My Love and I. Words really fail, at this task, but this is what I came up with:
Imagine every book, periodical, newspaper, papyrus scroll, cave wall, and stone tablet ever written since the beginning of mankind; all firmly pressed between two bookends. How would you respond to being charged with reading every single word of these writings, understanding every word (no matter the language), and memorizing every bit?? Well, our souls are the bookends and all that literature in between is the Love that God blessed to only exist between the two of us, specifically designed for our two hearts. Bits and pieces, one may gather or fathom, but the whole is as elusive as your first exhale upon exiting your mother's womb. Can you recall it? Do you know where it is??
Why the title change? Well, I was blessed to spend time with my Uncles, Gordon and Elvis earlier this year, around the time my mind was pondering "Bookends". They had recently moved to Florida, from California. Uncle Gordon and I were talking about the move, and I asked if they still had much in Cali that needed moving. All I remember from his response is, "Over 30 years of stuff." That has stuck with me since February. Imagine the strength of the love that affords the accumulation of over 30 years of stuff!! In that over 30 years of stuff, lies that unfathomable love, whose understanding remains elusive. Thanks for the new title, Uncle Gordon!!
Truth be told, it is never meant for what God places between two souls to be understood by the passersby and bystanders of the world. As long as the two involved have it, know it and comprehend it, all is well and the world should recognize its place. In case, it needs spelling, the world's place is outside the relationship and minding its own business. When I see such love, I admire it and I appreciate it. Now that I have it for myself, I honor it, respect it, and protect it.
I know that we have what it takes to accumulate our own over-30-years-of-stuff!
Bryan Hollomon Williams