The older I get the more I've come to personally realize that there are thieves all around us … Some are lurking around corners or crouched in alleyways and some live right down the street. We brush elbows with thieves every day of our life. And if you're not really paying attention, you'll be a victim of robbery!
Most of us know all about the obvious thieves who try to steal our cell phones or our cars or our wallets … but I'm blogging about the "less obvious" kind … you know what I mean? The ones who steal the intangibles … the things that are invisible to the naked eye but are oh so valuable. I'm talking about the ones who try to steal your joy and your peace. Those are the ones we should be most concerned about. They are the vilest offenders. They chip away at our wall of joy until they've sucked every drop of anything good from us.
If you aren't on your guard, the world and the one who lives in the world, will steal your joy. He's busy about that work. He loves to sit back and wait until you're planted smack dab in the middle of something enJOYable, and then he'll swoop in and swipe your joy right out from under you.
This has happened to me on a number of occasions … the most recent was when I was going to fly in an ultra light flyer … You know the ones? They look like go-carts that have a parachute attached? As I was driving over to the field where we were going to take off, I was listening to my IPOD to sort of set the mood. I didn’t select a song, instead I just flipped it on. The first random song that started playing was "Lie in our graves" by Dave Matthews. Oh MY GOODNESS!!! It freaked me out. Did that mean something? Was I going to die? I tried to remain calm, but how crazy is that? I convinced myself that I was overreacting … it was a random song, for Pete's sake It didn't mean anything. So, I reached over and clicked the button to move to the next song …
You won't believe what song was next in the queue …. just take one guess …
It was "Crash" by Dave Matthews. OK, now I was completely freaked out. I was really starting to rethink the flying go-cart. When you take a good look at these machines, you realize there isn't much room for error. Good gracious, a shift in the wind and suddenly you're "CRASHing' to the ground and a day later "lying in a grave." It could happen! This was too much. Finally, I just jerked the IPOD plug out and started praying … which is probably what I should have been doing to start with.(:
The Clark girls must have a way about us because something similar happened to my daughter. One year when she was at camp, she reluctantly decided to try the zip line. This particular zip line started high atop the trees and zipped down to a smooth water landing. Sounds easy enough, huh? Well, my daughter inherited her dad's fear of heights. So the thought of climbing up the ropes to the top of a tree just didn't appeal to her. Her friend convinced her to give it a try, and everything was going along pretty well until she got to the top … They were unhooking her from one set of ropes and on to the other ropes to zip to the water and Blakely looked down. As if just looking down was not traumatic enough, insult was added to potential injury when she saw a fellow camper standing near the end of the zip line wearing a T-shirt that said, "You are going to die!" (And while this is a completely true statement … if Jesus tarries, then most likely one day we will die … but she didn't want to expedite the process by taking this zip line).
Oh MY GOODNESS!!! Can you believe that? Well, you can probably guess what happened next. Blakely unhooked from the zip line and re-hooked to the original rope and started gingerly backing down the ladder until she safely reached the ground.
I, on the other hand, did go through with my wild ride in the flying go-cart … which by the way, was UNBELIEVABLE!!! I would do it again in a second. Next time, I just won't play any Dave Matthews on the ride over!
We have to guard our JOY. There are thieves all around us. If you loosen your grip, your JOY will be jerked right out of your hands. Forget what Fleetwood Mac said ... don't "hold on loosely"… You better hang on with all your might. You have to cling to your joy. Don't give the thieves the satisfaction. Keep your eyes and ears on God instead of T-shirts and doomsday lyrics. Then you will be able to enJOY all that God has in store for your life!
"Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need." (Ecc 4:28)