2 Punches to the Gut (In a Good, Joyful Kind of Way)
July 07, 2015
Do you ever have a “poor, pitiful me” attitude? I don’t, but I know several people who do. Just kidding – I tend to default to this attitude more often than I would like to admit. My wife calls me “Pitiful Pearl” to (rightly) poke fun at my ridiculous behavior when I am in one of these “moods.”
I was having one of these “I am in a bad mood because I feel like being in a bad mood” morning’s when the following 2 events happened. Both were like gut punches to snap me back into shape and get over my pitiful self!
First, I received an email from a West Franklin member who thanked me for the message on Isaiah 40 I preached Sunday. He proceeded to tell me that the Lord has taught him over and over and over again how to wait on Him – especially in light of having to care for his wife. He compared his relationship to his wife as one like a parent to a child. He was grateful for how the Lord was showing him more of Himself and His power through the hard circumstances.
Gut. Punch. “Hey Pearson, why don’t you feel sorry for yourself while you move into a new house with a healthy wife and 3 healthy kids.”
Second, one of the gentlemen who cleans at our church building asked me if I had laughed today. Now, it is one thing for him to walk by my office and ask me that. But do you know what he was doing when he asked me? He was cleaning a toilet! (Don’t ask me why we were talking in there . . . that’s none of your business. . . good grief . . . what you do in the bathroom is your business and what I do is MY business!) Yep. While he was cleaning a toilet, he noticed my “poor, pitiful me” mood and asked me if I had laughed yet today.
Gut. Punch. “Hey Pearson, why don’t you feel sorry for yourself while you walk back to your nice office to sit at your computer while the janitor cleans the toilet.”
I’m a jerk.
The gentleman cleaning the potty was ten times more full of joy than I was. . . and I had NOTHING to be in a bad mood about! If anybody had reason to be in a bad mood it was “Mr. Clean Toilets First Thing on Tuesday Morning.” Am I right?
What’s the takeaway? I mean the one besides you knowing what a selfish, sinful idiot I am!
The takeaway is that – ultimately – circumstances simply cannot be a source of joy. They will fail every. Single. Time. The joy of the Lord is our strength. The two gentlemen the Lord had me encounter today were so full of joy. One was caring for his wife like a parent cares for a newborn. The other was scrubbing nasty toilets that several hundred Baptist’s had used the previous Sunday. Me? I left a brand new home and came to a really nice and air conditioned office to a job I love.
The “What” is not the source of joy. It’s in the “Who.” I am a child of God. Loved forever and ever. Father, please have mercy on me a sinner and restore to me – always – the joy of my salvation.