Happiness Barometer

We all respond with happiness when certain things happen.  For some it’s bumping unexpectedly into a friend whom we haven’t seen for awhile.  For others it might be receiving a simple gesture of kindness, like an invitation to come for coffee, a box of candy, or just a day out browsing the stores with friends, or taking a walk in the countryside.

For me, it’s spontaneous responses from my canine friends.  For example, just this morning I was taking a friend’s dogs to the park to play ball.  One dog was in the backseat while the other one was in the passenger seat next to me.  As we were riding along, I suddenly felt the lightness of the front seat dog as she slipped onto my lap and lay there until we reached our destination.  I had lay my hand on her.  When we came to a stop I glanced down to find her staring up at me with a look of what I define as sweet adoration.  My heart soared.  “I love you, too, Tilly,” I said while sticking my other arm to the back, feeling for the other dog.  “I love you, too, Poppy,” who licked my hand as she began to prance about in anticipation of the ball game to come.

That happiness of this morning has lasted even until now as I sit typing out the story.  That’s when the reminder came to me about how I respond to my Heavenly Father.   If I get all glowing and overcome with tenderness in response to a dog’s love, how much more must my Father be glowing when I crawl into His lap of love, just because I want to, and let Him know that I love Him.

Have you ever wondered why we are instructed to give praise to God?  Is it because of some ego trip of God to be so adored?  Of course not; it’s for our need, as much as for His delight.  When we take time to enter into His presence with praises and words of love and appreciation, it strengthens our own resolve, puts our thoughts and understanding into proper perspective, and fills us with peace and joy that is so vast it cannot be measured.  Praising God is an absolute delight to Him, but it is a tremendous joy builder for us, too.

When we praise Him when we are sad, downcast spirits are lifted.  When we praise Him when we are glad, our joy buckets are so filled they overflow into that “peace that passes understanding.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Just as I adored those little dogs showing affection to me, our Father cherishes our love shown to Him, but the joy He receives is bounced right back to us to overflowing.  Taking time to praise our Heavenly Father is always a peace and joy builder; always, without exception.

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.  I will be filled with Joy because of You.  I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.”  Psalm 9:1-2

The Joy Of Expectation

This week, our cat Blackie, reminded me of another great truth.  I generally feed Blackie at 6:30am and again at 4:00pm.  There are times when I am delayed, especially the 4:00pm dinner time.  Sometimes I’m out and don’t get back until much later.  It always makes me smile as I pull onto the driveway and then under the carport.  Even if I’m several hours late, there is Blackie, waiting, expecting.  He knows I’ll be there and he will get his dinner.

As I get out of the car, Blackie follows me to the door.  He knows that moments later I will reappear with his evening meal.  I can tell there is no doubt in his mind that his dinner is coming.  As I place his bowl in front of him, he begins to devour his meal, occasionally glancing in my direction.  Once in a while he leaves his bowl to rub along my arm, meowing his pleasure.  Blackie is not angry that I’m late.  After all, not getting his dinner was ever in his mind.  His expectation of my care for him overrides all doubt.

As I was watching Blackie eat his delayed meal yesterday, I thought of the verses in Psalm 9:1-2, “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.  I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name, Oh Most High.”  That was Blackie’s attitude toward me!  In his little cat brain, I have done the most marvelous of things in getting his dinner.  He is filled with joy because of that act.  He meows his pleasure for all I have done for him.  I am important in his life and he shows me that  I am.  In turn, I too, am filled with great pleasure.

You and I can learn a lot from this cat.  He never doubts I will give him what he needs, even  though he must, at times, wait for what he desires.  He is calm in his expectation; joyful in what he knows will come.  Do you and I feel the same way about our Awesome God?  When we are waiting for a need to be met, do we really expect it to happen, or do we merely hope with a leaning that it might not take place.  We miss out on so much joy and peace of mind when we lean toward the doubt rather than the expectation.

Has God ever let anyone down?  No.  Is He going to start with you?  No.  His promises stand for eternity without mistake.  Let us not forget God’s promise in Isaiah 40:31, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.”  Let’s determine today that we will not grow weary in waiting.  Let us not faint as the minutes tick by.  Like Blackie, let us revel in the anticipation of what is coming.  Let us never doubt His goodness, but joyfully expect it.