A Cheerful Heart
Occasionally we meet people who don’t seem to have much joy in their lives. You can sense the lack of it in their faces and the absence of it when they speak. When they speak it is usually to complain about something. That is not so with my dear friend, Grace, aged 99. Grace had breast cancer many years ago. She has had two hip and two knee replacements over the years. Now her ankles and feet are deteriorating. She says she’s hoping for a “foot and ankle replacement”!
Yet Grace is always cheerful! “Why shouldn’t I be?” she says. “Each morning I wake up, and the grace of the Lord is over me. I’m able to get up in peace, and when the evening comes, I can lie down and sleep in peace, for the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, lets me dwell in safety and joy. Even if sleep doesn’t come, and even if the joints ache, I think about the Lord during the night, and he makes my soul rejoice, for a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
Even if the earth may be a vale of tears, and even though one may feel like a stranger here, one can rejoice in the awareness of God’s wonder-working power and, by the grace of God, let life also be for the praise of and thanks to God for his glory and power. And that goes for any age … from 9 to 99!
And speaking of thanks … as we observe a day of Thanksgiving (in November in the United States), let us think about this world that God has created for us to live in! Frederick Buechner had this to say about creation: “To make suggests making something out of something else, the way someone makes wooden boxes out of wood. To create is to make something out of nothing, the way one makes paintings or poems. To create is to make something essentially new. In creating the world, God made something where before there had been nothing. As the author of the book of Job puts it: The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). They shouted at the sheer and shimmering novelty of this miracle.
Using the same old materials of earth, air, fire and water, God creates something new every 24 hours. Every morning one wakes up to something that never was before and never will be again. And the you that wakes up was never the same before and will never be the same again either! Isn’t that something worth rejoicing about, to think and to thank about?
May each of us rejoice, be cheerful, give and live Thanksgiving each day that God gives us!
Lois Peacock, RN
Zion Lutheran Church
San Francisco, CA