BRADY COLUMN: When life becomes exciting

Published 10:30 am Thursday, October 13, 2022

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Three people attend a concert. The first one is a musician down to his or her fingertips. He or she knows, understands and loves music. The concert is simply a joy. The second person doesn’t have the musical soul of the first person but enjoys the concert as much as possible. His or her limited capacity limits the enjoyment of the music. The third person, however, is like a fish out of water at the concert. This person is bored and secretly wishes the concert was over. It is a punishment to even be there.

To some degree, these are the ways people experience the business of living. Some people enjoy life to the hilt and live it to the fullest. Others are very restricted in their enjoyment. When things are going their way they are relatively happy, but at other times they are not happy but frustrated campers. While still others are bored with life. To them, life is just one gigantic problem or defeat.

With your permission, I want to take a few moments and share three biblical ideas as to when life becomes exciting,

First, life becomes exciting when forgiveness becomes a priority! Herb Miller, church consultant and author, tells a story of a Scandinavian farmer who loved his beautiful little daughter. One afternoon as the child played in the yard, a neighbor’s dog attacked and killed the little girl. The father’s bitterness toward the neighbor shook his faith to the core.  Shortly after this tragedy, a famine came to that part of the country. The neighbor who was very poor, had no seed to sow on his land. One night, the distraught father rose from his sleepless bed, dressed in his work clothes, and sowed grain in his neighbor’s field. When asked why, he replied, “So that God might live.” That was that farmer’s way of saying what Jesus taught, that without love and forgiveness, God cannot live in our lives. The late Frederick Buechner said, “To forgive somebody is to say one way or another, ‘You’ve done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits between us. Both my pride and my principle demand no less. However, I refuse to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend.’” Life becomes exciting when forgiveness becomes a priority.

Second, life becomes exciting when gratitude becomes personal! A certain man, taking seriously the popular idea that he should always think positively, found himself put to the test one evening in his prayer. It had been one of those days. Any lesser person would have given into complaint. But after searching, our man here came up with a positive prayer of one sentence. “I thank thee that not every day is as hard as this one.” Now, the instinct to be thankful is a sound instinct. Indeed, our thankfulness is a further test of our spiritual health. It is both the mark of a healthy mind and trusting heart. As a matter of fact, the more we know of God the more thankful we become. And the more thankful we become, the more we know of God. Specifically, a happy person is a grateful person. This grateful person sees that he or she has been blessed. As an icebreaker to let people introduce themselves, a group leader asked people to tell their names and one thing for which they were personally thankful. The usual thoughts came out, until one woman said, “My name is Jane, and I’m thankful for erasers.” When someone asked why, she said, because erasers rub out mistakes.” Life becomes exciting when gratitude becomes personal. Third, “life becomes exciting when praise becomes a regular practice. The late Bruce Larson, dynamic Presbyterian minister and noted author, asked how can we praise God in our problems and everybody has them? Larson then answers his own question by saying that we should focus on the belief that God Is bigger than our problems and is present right now in the middle of our burdens. The reason Bruce Larson’s explanation is so important to me is because I believe precisely that. Like some of you, I believe that God Is bigger than any problem we have, and that God Is always in our midst. In fact, that’s what the Scripture teaches!

Forgiveness, gratitude, praise — And life becomes exciting!