Last Sunday at church I spotted an older gentleman that I hadn’t talked to for awhile. Since there was plenty of time before service started, I went over and asked him how he had been doing as I knew he was struggling with health issues.
Usually this sweet man would stand up and give me a hug (even though I knew it was hard for him to do so), but this time he didn’t stand, so I knew he was hurting even more than usual. My heart broke for him.
Yet even though he was suffering, he gave me one of his biggest smiles, and a wonderful strong handshake.
“How ya been doing, darlin’?” he asked.
I told him I’d been doing well, and then asked how he was.
With his smile still firmly in place, he shrugged his shoulders, and said, “I’m thankful that every day I can wake up and get up out of bed. God is good.”
If ever I had personally met a man who was filled with the joy of the Lord, it was he. I don’t ever think I have ever seen him without that smile on his face, or sharing love with someone else in the congregation. If I can use the term for a guy, I’d say his whole demeanor has always been “radiant.”
The words with this sweet man on Sunday brought to remembrance a devotional I read awhile back about a young Christian woman whose life had been filled with one painful event after another.
A woman asked this gal one day how she could always be so cheerful and happy when she’d had to live through so many difficulties. Her reply?
“The secret is this: I’ve learned there’s little I can do in my life that’ll make me truly happy. I must depend on God to make me happy and meet my needs. And, He’s never let me down. Since I learned that secret, I’ve been happy.”
Wow! Totally matches up with Philippians 4:12-13, 19 (NLT):
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength… And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
The above passage of Scripture has worked its way into my life on so many different occasions. Probably one of the biggest was when God opened all sorts of doors for our son with special needs to move out of state to college (e.g. Precious Surprises for Jeffrey, Another Miracle for Jeffrey). In spite of my health issues that came out of the blue during that stressful time (Last Surgery), God’s timing had always been perfect.
Yet I have to admit that I’m certainly not happy or joyful all the time. As a matter of fact, a lot of the time I’m just flat-out cranky and irritable. Why? Because in some way or the other my own selfish needs have not been met in the way “I” think they should’ve been.
I’d like to end today’s post by just saying how thankful I am that I am able to attend church and have fellowship with other believers. Because that’s one of the ways we learn, isn’t it? It’s one thing to read a devotional in the peacefulness of our own home, but it’s quite another to see the words of our Lord God being lived out in others’ lives – just the way it has been with my elderly gentleman friend.