Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Paradise Comes in Many Forms

I was on my almost daily walk with my dog at the park when I passed a couple walking 3 dogs. We said the usual greetings. You know, "Hi, how's it going/how ya doing?" The guy's response to my greeting has stuck with me for a few days. He said, "Paradise comes in many forms."

I just looked up the word paradise on and the first definition has to do with the afterlife but definition #2 is this, "a place or state of bliss, felicity, or delight." I then had to look up the word felicity because it's not in my everyday vocabulary. It means "quality of state of being happy."

Some days I have to choose to see my current situation or place as paradise. Maybe it doesn't always involve felicity but certainly should involve thankfulness. Honestly, when I see my life in light of some of the really horrible things going on in the world this is paradise. God has given me more than I deserve and, in many instances, more than I've asked or imagined.

Those days that are heavy, though, the choice is harder to make. Those days when you get a phone call that is like a kick in the gut. Those days when you have to give up something because you realize you've made it an idol but it's not without heartbreak. Those days when you miss someone you love so much it hurts. Those days when you realize you've said hurtful words and you wish you could just take it back. Oh, forgiveness is there but so is the sting. Those days when you face uncertainty but you just want to know the answer.

Yesterday, as I contemplated paradise, I flipped my Bible open and it fell to Daniel 9. Starting in verse 4, this chapter records Daniel's prayer of confession. Verse 3 is this, "So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes." It's not the first time we see Daniel praying in this book that bears his name. Even with a threat to his life if he continued to do so, Daniel got on his knees three times a day to pray and give thanks. (see Daniel 6:10)

Perhaps the key to paradise is prayer, giving thanks, being submissive to the Lord God despite personal desire. Maybe paradise doesn't always involve happiness but it does include peace, joy, and assurance.  At least that's the definition I'm writing as it applies to my life today.

Serving the King,


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