Joy in Simplicity

Mondays are long days for me. I arrive at my trainer’s studio at 9 am, co-lead a staff meeting at 10 am and I leave the office around 9-10 pm. Most Monday evenings I take a quick dinner break and my husband usually prepares something to eat or has take-out for me. By the time I get home for the final time he typically has a fire in the outdoor fire pit and the jacuzzi going. We sit for about an hour while I download my day and he listens.

How often do I take those little acts of kindness and love for granted? How often do I not notice the effort that was made in making a relaxing resting place for my body, mind, and spirit? When was the last time I said thank you or let him know I appreciate what he does for me?

There is a story in the Bible that was the topic of the sermon in church recently.

“David again assembled all the fit young men in Israel: thirty thousand. He and all his troops set out to bring the ark of God from Baale-judah. The ark bears the Name, the name of the Lord of Armies who is enthroned between the cherubim. They set the ark of God on a new cart and transported it from Abinadab’s house, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the cart and brought it with the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on the hill. Ahio walked in front of the ark. David and the whole house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all kinds of fir wood instruments, lyres, harps, tambourines, sistrums, and cymbals. When they came to Nacon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out to the ark of God and took hold of it because the oxen had stumbled. Then the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and God struck him dead on the spot for his irreverence, and he died there next to the ark of God. David was angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah, so he named that place Outburst Against Uzzah, as it is today. David feared the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” So he was not willing to bring the ark of the Lord to the city of David; instead, he diverted it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. The ark of the Lord remained in his house three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his whole family. It was reported to King David, “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s family and all that belongs to him because of the ark of God.” So David went and had the ark of God brought up from Obed-edom’s house to the city of David with rejoicing.”
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭6:1-12‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Uzzah grew up in the house where the ark has resided. He was so accustomed to the presence of God that it was common. Reaching out to steady it was of no second thought. It had lost the sacredness to him.

I have been meditating on this passage this week as I go about my work. What do I take for granted in the presence of God? What do I take for granted in the presence of God’s sons and daughters? What has become such a casual matter that I no longer even notice?

Take the journey with me and ask yourself if you find blessing in the simplicity of joy? Can you see the abundant blessings in the midst of problems? What do you focus on? Could I go on? I could, but for now, let’s just take a little walk, a deep steady breath, and contemplate.

The Hospital

In the same week the pastor was summoned to the hospital to pray for Amy and Andrew . Andrew was about to have a life-altering operation. Due to the severity of the illness and neglect of the body the operation was necessary in order to save his life. Andrew would continue to have quality of life but there would be the need for physical therapy, modifications at home, a new diet and an awareness of signs that things were either progressing or deteriorating. With proper medical attention Andrew was going to be ok after a bit of time. He didn’t want to do it. It would be a hard adjustment only he knew that this was the only way to keep him alive. He called the pastor to pray for a miracle.

Amy was in the final stages of her life. There was nothing more modern medicine was able to do. The only thing left for the doctors to do was to send Amy home, make her comfortable for the time she had left. They were setting her up with hospice care. She was scared, angry and wondering why this had to happen?

The hospital is a place where you go to determine the course of treatment for your ailment. No one goes to the hospital without business to do there. You are either there to work, visit a loved one, or attend to your illness. No one goes to the hospital on a date night or to watch a movie.

So it is with the church. She is a spiritual hospital. I came to church when my life was upside down and my way wasn’t working. I came to her in hopes of finding a cure. There are some who have way more brains than I do and they come to church because they have developed a lifestyle of regular check ups and health is their way of life. Some of us just learn the hard way that life has a way of taking you off course.

It would be a waste of time to go to a hospital with a gaping oozing infected wound and be told that you’ve come to the right place without being attended to. To sit in a waiting room for days, weeks, months, and no one addresses the illness that is now taking complete hold of your life, and yet that is what we want from the church.

We want to be welcomed and told we are fine. We want the church to ignore the blood on the carpet and to pat us on the hand and give us a cookie. We want the church to be a hospice. We want the church to make us comfortable in our sin until we die as the great Pastor Tony Evans says. We do not want attendees who will tell us about the operation and diet and lifestyle changes that could save our lives. You see, that isn’t what we came for. We came to be told that we can be fixed and nothing has to change.

Of course the church must have time assess the situation. Of course we must get the choice of the course of treatment we’d like if at all. Of course nothing can be forced and just as in the hospital we have the right to check ourselves out and refuse treatment we also have that right in the church.

Only never let it be said that the church didn’t try. Above all, never let it be on the church record that the church only provided hospice care because she was too polite to tell us that our illness was leading to our death and it was totally preventable.