The Wine of Hope...

Reading written prayers plays a larger role in my spiritual journey these days. They give language to longings of my soul I often don't have words for...they keep heart my heart centered when its natural tendency is to wander all overthe place to the things I worry about. I read the Psalms like written prayers. I'm currently using a book of prayers - Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers For The Battle. It's rich.

This week the following words stirred something in me...

Quicken in me a sense of humor...bright enough to help me find my way in these tarnished times...fruitful enough to be made the wine of hope to warm the hearts of those I live with.

Laughter says a lot about my soul. 

But when life feels heavy and hard a sense of humor comes hard. Much easier to sigh than smile. Add my melancholy temperament and a sense of humor feels flat out foreign. I am naturally bent to look at life through a lens that is too serious and reflective. I easily miss the humor in 'serious' moments. When I miss the humor in my humanity (although the older I get the harder it is to miss my humanity) I become paralyzed by shame and guilt. And when I miss the humor in the humanity of others I paralyze them with my criticism and judgement.

There's something disarming and life giving about a sense of humor. It's the 'wine of hope' that can warm the hearts of my friends and family. A sense of humor reflects the quiet peacefulness and perspective of a soul that doesn't feel fearful or angry because it trusts God to work out His purposes even when life feels hard and heavy - for me or others.

I think a sense of humor is what the Psalmist has in mind when he penned Psalm 90. He describes life with brutal honesty - even our best years are filled with pain and trouble (v.10)...our life is brief and very limited...then it's over' (vv.10,12). Sober and serious words intended to inspire wisdom in how we embrace the moments given to us. But then he prays that we we live lighter...Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love...so I may sing for joy to the end of my life. Give me gladness...(vv.14-15).

When our heart is fully satisfied that God is enough...that we need no other loves...life feels lighter. Joy and gladness flow more naturally...a smile replaces a sigh. Not only do we feel lighter but those around us feel lighter because they experience the peacefulness of God's presence in us.

Maybe a sense of humor would be a good 'spiritual discipline'...

Fighting for Your Hearts

Gary