Running Through Puddles

The U.K. has been having some consistently warm, and even record breaking hot weather.  Last week, after the hottest day so far this summer, we had a day of cloud and rain.  It was a welcome relief.  My dog, Jack, and I, got in the car to drive to one of our favorite walking places.  The air smelled of fresh rain, the wind picked up and suddenly a spray of mist was blowing in our faces.

I headed toward the shelter of trees, but Jack, mouth open and eyes dancing with delight, started running in large loops, expressing his joy in the weather.  Then he saw a puddle and zoomed through the middle of it.  Great streams of water shot into the air.  His wild abandon was infectious.  I pushed back my hood, stepped into the rain and began running after Jack.

It never occurred to me what we looked like; a sixty-two year old woman and her dog zooming in circles and splashing through puddles.  I only knew what I felt inside — exhilarated!  After several minutes of our sprinting and jumping, we both eased into a walk, still smiling with our water soaked hair, and lungs heaving from the adventure.

While we ploughed on in our weather joy, the verse in Psalm 16:11 sprang into my mind: “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever.”  I pictured Jesus running with us.  I envisioned His own joy in our delight.  I imagined being with Him for eternity.  I can only imagine now, but the reality is not far away when the children of God will be running and jumping and praising and living in perfect joy in a place where there are no more tears — forever!

I hope every person reading this is one of God’s own.  If not, remember His promise in Romans 10:13, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  This is the most wonderful promise ever, allowing us, because of Jesus, to live in absolute jubilation for eternity.

 

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