Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is Your Life a Joke?

Marcia's devotionals have been widely distributed in Canada and the U.S. Her book, Spur of the Moment is now in second printing. Visit her website -

“Your life is a joke.” Heads jerked up when Alton Gansky, the speaker at our Spring WorDshop said those words. He smiled and went on to suggest that our writing careers were a joke too. Then he defined the word: a story that has an unexpected twist. He talked about his own life and career and the many twists and turns both have had. It made me take a walk down my own memory lane.

I thought of all the “what if’s.” What if I’d gotten that job as a radio host (the manager wouldn’t hire me because he didn’t feel the audience was “ready for a female voice”). What if I’d enrolled in the creative writing program at that university when the door opened for me, instead of staying in the Yukon? What if I hadn’t attended that seminar many years later, that lit a fire inside me to write for the Lord?

So many choices, so many roads not travelled.

I was reminded of the time my middle daughter, Laura, called to ask my advice. She was at an “in- between” place, working in the city while waiting to leave on a mission trip for a year. Hence, her quandary. Should she stay in the city where rents were high, or come home for the next few months so she could save some money as the process unfolded? The mission had given her a choice - should she choose Kenya or Bangladesh?
As a mom I wanted to jump right in and tell her to come home. But I restrained myself. I advised her to keep praying and wait for God to give her peace about the decisions. The next morning I read Psalm 84. I e-mailed Laura and typed out verses 3 and 4 because they had struck a cord.

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”

As I read the words I pictured those tiny birds flying high over the temple in Jerusalem. I thought about all they would have seen and heard – the priests and believers coming and going to offer sacrifices, the songs sung in praise and worship, and above all, the presence of God in that place. I thought how true it is, even today, that we must nest close to the Lord and his people.

So many times God has told us this – stay close, let me gather you under my wing, hide yourself in me, abide in me. I think he said it so often because He knows how prone we are to not do it. We pull away so quickly; we find reasons to stay away. We make choices that prove to be to our detriment.

It’s interesting that the very next verse talks not about resting in one place, but about those “who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.” The principle is clear: You don’t have to stay in one place to stay close to the Lord. Whether my daughter stayed in the city or came home, whether she went to Africa or Asia, as long as she stayed close to the Lord, depending on Him for strength and guidance, praising and thanking Him, she would be in the right place.

Our careers and lives are a joke – they will take many unexpected twists and turns. We will make many choices, some bad, some good. But as long as we stay close to the Lord, it’s all okay.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Psalm 84:11-12).