Happy Places

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Photo credit: Kim Clayton Lance

Psalm 85:8-13 “I will listen to what God the Lord will say; He promises peace to His people, His saints – but let them not return to folly. Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before Him and prepares the way for His steps.”

Everyone has a happy place, either in their heart or in a physical location. Some friends and I would agree that the beach is the happiest of places, but mainly with a good book, a good chair, and a good cup of coffee. I have a sister-in-law who is the happiest every summer spending time on one of the Thousand Islands (NY). The place and the heart are both tied together. Married really.

I love the photos of Kim Clayton Lance (ApertureoftheSoul – FaceBook)! They speak to my heart. What she captures on her camera might mimic what it is like when I capture some great truth(s) from God’s Word. Unexpected. Swift. Powerful. Urgent. Happy. The place and the heart, tied together. I love the photo of the little church with the background of vastness and beauty. It makes me contemplate God.

There is a moment when the scripture (especially a passage from Psalms) touches a place in my heart that surprises me. The place and the heart, tied together. I am very familiar with God’s Word, but lean toward complacent and comfortable. I respect God’s Word, but sometimes don’t expect it to move me. I know God’s Spirit enlivens the eyes of my heart, but I forget to invite Him in.

I am happy when God brings together the place and the heart. Today, in Psalm 85 I contemplated the perfect marriage of love and faithfulness. God tied them together. The perfect marriage of righteousness and peace. God tied them together. And, it felt just like the marriage of the little church with the majesty of the mountains behind it! Perfect. Happy. Place. God’s design.

Kodak Moments

KODAK and camera

Since digital photography has replaced the camera film processing of yesteryear, the word Kodak might not mean anything to you, depending on your age. The Kodak company manufactured the film we used in our cameras. There was a saying back in the day. “Kodak moment” indicated the perfection of a great photograph, snapped in merely a second, that captured some great memory. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the photo represented a perfect life. But, you’d know better…

Psalm 44:1-4 “We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what You did in their days, in days long ago. With your hand You drove out the nations and planted our fathers; You crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You loved them. You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob.”

I’ve had some Kodak moments that have reminded me of the light of God’s face. In these moments, I know that it is God Who chases away the darkness that threatens to swallow us. He sends us tender moments to experience here on planet earth. In these, He reminds us of His redemption. He whispers “all is right” in this moment, and one day it will be every moment because of Jesus. Remember this.

Joy was all mine recently when my 1-month-old grandson slept in my arms for over an hour. His little breaths and expressions…my goodness – definitely a Kodak moment! Joy was all mine when I went to see the movie Incredibles 2 with my oldest granddaughters on the last day of its local showing, an impromptu plan that came together (Elastigirl is my hero!). Kodak moment! Joy was all mine when Pop Pop cooked a country ham in July and helped relieve a broken air conditioning situation in one of our children’s homes! Kodak moments.

Joy was all mine when I worked alongside my daughter-in-law to sort and store baby clothes for almost a week, a reminder of her three precious children. Kodak moment, definitely. Joy was all mine when one daughter shared a huge mercy that was wrapped up in her new teaching position. Joy was all mine in a last minute rendezvous at a local brewery with one daughter’s family on a summer evening. Kodak moment! And dinners with good friends. And a beautiful 4-hour taxi-cab tour of the Isle of Man on a sunny day. And a new leadership position for a respected colleague. The list goes on. Kodak moments all!

After all that Joseph experienced in Genesis 37-50, especially being sold into slavery in a huge betrayal by his own brothers, there came a moment, a final redemptive moment in Genesis 50:19-21: “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he assured them and spoke kindly to them.'”

Kodak moments. Look for them. They are everywhere. A whisper of God’s love. The hope of redemption. His right hand. The light of His face. His love. His kindness.