Thursday, March 14, 2019

Happiest Time

I was enjoying a real conversation with my twenty year old son when he asked a question. "When
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash
was the happiest time in your life?"  I saw this as one of those chances to share more than just conversation, so I gave the question some thought.  There were two distinct times that stood out in my mind.  They weren't vacations, holidays, or events.  The two times did have very much in common.  Both times were after I had experienced a period of suffering.  The happiness I experienced was associated with a feeling of peace.  I was active in my church, surrounded by caring Christian friends, and close to God.  I was allowing God to guide my life, and all was right with the world.  I explained how wonderful my life is when I rely on God.

My son's next question was a humdinger. "If life is so much better when you listen to God,why do you ever stop?"  Again I carefully considered my response.  Unfortunately I told him, I am human and humans can be very stupid.  When things are rolling along just fine, we find ourselves getting just a little off track.  Before you know it, the train is derailed, and you're back in the valley of darkness, alone and suffering.

Now I asked myself a question.  How do you prevail over stupidity?  I stay on track if I stay active at church, and by active I mean really giving of myself.  I'm also better off if I keep my focus off the material world.  You can enjoy the good things in life, just don't make them your focal point.  The most important thing to do is to talk to God everyday and then sit back and listen to Him.  It is a conscious effort and a choice every day.


Re-printed with permission of the author from St. Mark Presbyterian's 1999 Lenten Devotions

Psalm 34[a][b]

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked;
    the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.


  1. Psalm 34:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Psalm 34:1 In Hebrew texts 34:1-22 is numbered 34:2-23.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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