I'm happy tonight. (September 22, 2007.) I don't imagine I've pronounced those three words together except once or twice in my life. I've got a praise song on, Martha Munizzi. I keep hitting replay. Here we go, ready? "Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping. Get to shouting, make it louder, make it glorious. Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising. Get to shouting, make it louder, make His praise glorious."
I remember a Korean woman telling me that in her culture people don't give themselves over to happiness-neither to sadness-because tomorrow both will pass. I guess that's right. Homeostasis. But this isn't tomorrow, it's today.
Don't you just love Jesus? They wanted Him and the boys to fast per cultural norm, but He wasn't playin'. You can fast tomorrow when I'm gone. Today I'm here, we eat and drink. Respect the wineskins. Respect the emotions.
If the Lord told me to play a dirge tonight, I would do it, because He said so. But He doesn't, and He wouldn't. He says, "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise" (James 5:13). I'm sure on balance I suffer more than I'm cheerful-and I pray a lot. But tonight I'm cheerful (laughably inadequate word) and it's Martha Munizzi time.
I walked Spider earlier and tried to pray but all that came out was, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus." OK, I also prayed, "Who and what am I, that I should find such favor with You? Surely You have not treated me as my sins deserve. Surely mercy triumphs over judgment." I think He didn't mind the departure from the prayer list.
Did I put on Martha Munizzi to enhance the emotional experience? You bet. Let's enhance the emotional experience. Lord of body, soul, spirit, and emotions, have Your way in me. Is this joy? Yes indeed. It's always there somewhere underneath the careworn thoughts, but tonight it's a moon ascending. Come on now, dance with me. Carpe diem. Tomorrow I may be sad again. "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15).
God has been known to coach us when feelings are out of sync with facts: "'This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.' For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. . . . 'Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength'" (Nehemiah 8:9-10).
I spend a fair amount of time trying to decide if life is more sad or more happy-Flora and Meriwether vying in the last scene to make Cinderella's ballgown pink or blue. But in the One Story of which all stories partake, it definitely ends in pink not blue:
"And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?' And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly. . . . And one of the elders said to me, 'Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.' And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain. . . .
"And they sang a new song" (Revelation 5).
Maybe the song goes like this: "Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping; got to shouting, make it louder, make it glorious. Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising. Make His praise glorious."
Tomorrow, September 23rd, I might be back to Psalm 88, camped out in perplexity and frustration. I always have permission to bring something real to the Lord, the Respecter of emotions; no need to hide or pretend.
But I am happy tonight.