Ever get tripped up in life? Maybe fall as a result? If you have you know how it hurts! And the after effects can hurt worse than the actual tripping and falling! Whether it happens physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually, tripping and falling hurts! I recently took a trip! Let me tell you about it!
One night I needed (okay wanted) creamer for my morning cup of coffee so my husband offered to drive me over to the store. Walking out after the purchase I saw what I thought was our white car only to realize my husband was walking towards our green car which was parked across the parking lot. How embarassing to forget which car we drove in a short two minute in-store visit! He asked me where I was going and as I quickly turned to explain and follow I was suddenly reeling to catch my balance, to no avail! The next thing I knew I was sprawled on the tar with the creamer bottle rolling towards my husband. He was stunned to turn around and see his wife looking up at him from the ground in a total face plant! If I remember his first words they were something like “What are you doing down there? Get up!” He quickly followed that with “I haven’t seen you like that since you played volleyball!”
As everyone knows, it seems we never “fall” privately! Wouldn’t it be great if every time you fell it was just you and God present? But no! There is generally an audience, as there was the evening I nose-dived in the parking lot at Wal-Green’s. As I was flailing my way to the ground I was also somehow cognizant of three people sitting in a car, about two feet to my left, watching my demise up close and personal. In that split second I was thinking “What’s up with this God?”
It is helpful to note that a typical Minnesotan, no matter how cold it is outside in the winter, simply throws a light jacket over whatever they are wearing when they need to run out and pick something up at the store. For me this meant a pair of loose sweatpants on this particular evening. I can only hope and pray my jacket covered my derriere when my pants slid down as I hit and slid on the pavement. When I got home and discovered the dirt and tar marks on my thigh, it was evidence enough those people might have gotten a view I would have preferred they hadn’t. Wow! Could things get any worse? Of course they could!
Usually when you trip and fall, the goal is to get up as soon as possible in the hopes no one saw. But I was so stunned to find myself dropped to the ground I just laid there for a moment hoping it was a dream. And just as I was peeling myself off the ground, the driver of the car who had been renting a Red Box movie when I tripped, came around to get in his car. Imagine his surprise when he saw a lady sprawled face first on the ground next to his car! All he could say was “Are you okay?” Of course I’m not okay. This is not my typical resting place!
My husband calmly picked up the creamer bottle and waited for me to limp to our vehicle as I held my arm wondering if I had broke it. During those moments I was fully aware my trip and fall ranked right up there with my top three embarrassing moments in life. And to top it off I knew my husband HAD to be holding back laughter because I know I would have been if our roles were reversed. The whole scenario got more humorous with each passing minute though no less painful! Once we were safely inside the car and no longer a spectacle, I breathed a sigh of relief as we both burst into laughter.
This is a typical response in our family – we laugh at falls, mishaps, and pain. No, we are not insensitive people and if the situation calls for it we can be extremely compassionate. However, watching people fall can be just flat out funny! Pun intended! Why else would we laugh hysterically at America’s Funniest Videos when they show clip after clip of people falling? And though my timing for laughter is sometimes off, rarely appreciated and in fact, perhaps viewed as disrespectful, it is never my intention. It just seems laughter is better than tears.
And though I do my share of smiling, laughing, and crying, this particular evening gave way to a “laughter” moment, even though I must admit the pain to my body and ego were intense. I really just wanted to get home and pretend this little “outing” never happened. And I couldn’t stop thinking about how many times the people in the car would laugh as they told the story about the lady who fell at Wal-Green’s for no apparent reason at all. Hopefully the “Fall” show produced as much laughter for them as it has for our family!
As I recuperate I have been thinking about tripping up and falling in life with God teaching me a few lessons. I will talk about the first one here and then feel free to tune in to the next blog for the rest of the story! The main thing that came out of this trip and fall was laughter! Laughing in the face of adversity, being unmoved by all that wants to move us from setting the Lord before us is healthy for the flesh. Psalm 16:8-9 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.”
According to the Word of God, having a happy heart has the same effect as medicine has on our bodies. Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” A merry heart is translated as a joyful, glad heart or a heart that rejoices! Rejoicing is very often expressed with smiles and laughter! It is difficult to rejoice without a smile on our faces or a good belly laugh! Medicine is a drug or remedy used for treating illness, wounds, and injuries. Medicines help our bodies by fighting against bacteria and germs, making it easier for them to heal.
So, we must fill the prescription God gives, a joyful heart, and “take” it on a regular basis. But always remember: Medicine doesn’t heal us anymore than having a merry heart saves us! But good medicine helps our bodies fight effectively as God heals and a merry heart rejoices and glories in God as Jesus saves! By taking God’s medicine routinely (living with a merry heart) we have healthy spirits and our flesh rests in hope! And when trips and falls leave us in dire straits, God’s medicine is still accessible – we need only increase the dosage when necessary to assure our spirits don’t break so as to avoid brittle bones.
Then in Proverbs 15:13,15 we read about the aftereffects of merry heart medicine! “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” A merry heart actually changes our facial expression. It makes us look cheery, joyful, jovial, and in good spirits whereas allowing our hearts to remain in a state of sorrow breaks our spirits. There is promise of what we can expect should we choose to have a merry heart – we will have a continual feast in Christ. How incredible this truly is!
A glad heart, laughing at ourselves, rejoicing at all times is always a choice. And it is definitely not always easy. Surely when we trip and fall in life it hurts, sometimes worse than other times. No one said a cheerful heart frees us from the trips, falls, pain, wounds, injuries, and sorrow of life. But God did say a cheerful heart changes our looks and our outlook, provides a feast, positions us to glory in God, and allows our flesh to rest in hope!
No matter how you have tripped up in life and no matter how many times you have fallen as a result you can weather the effects if you take God’s medicine! Start today by laughing a little! And remember God is smiling on you as well. Isaiah 62:4-5 “You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah (My delight is in her), and your land Beulah (married); for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. ….as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”