It just dawned on me this morning – I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I know you would think that as a minister I would always have been like that, but I must confess, I have gone through periods of allowing myself to get down. But I was working by myself this morning, writing news stories, and I decided to take a break and get a Starbucks Doubleshot Energy vanilla drink.
It was on the trip back from CVS that I realized what God has done for me. I am 71 years old. I see people 20 years younger than me who are unable to move. I have more energy than I have ever had and I get up and go through 4 1/2 hours of dialysis, then go to work and put in 8 hours, and I feel really good.
I would like to credit my faith, but the truth is, it has been the faith of those who love me and pray for me every day. It is their faith that has kept me healthy and happy. It is the power of the name of Jesus Christ that has inserted itself into what I do every day, and I come out the other side unscathed.
Jesus does not promise happiness. Quite the contrary. He told us in John 15 (J.B. Phillips) “Do you remember what I said to you, ‘The servant is not greater than his master’? If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you as well.” Let me make one thing clear here, I have never been persecuted for my faith. There are people in Syria and China and other places who are being persecuted for their faith, luckily that has never happened to me. But my point here is that Jesus never promised happiness, just joy. Joy is greater than happiness because it is not affected by circumstances.
Having said that, I am happy to report that as a gift of grace I am happier than I have ever been. My energy level is up, my productivity is up, and my faith in the people of my country is up.
Let me also applaud the company I work for. When you work for a news outlet that only seeks the truth without any agenda, it gives you the opportunity to look at all sides of every issue. If you do that you will find some truth in all points of opinion. My bosses, Hope Comer and Chris Slone encourage me to dig deeper and get more, and when that happens we learn more about a subject or an issue and that is why the Daily Times has more local content than ever before.
I am happy in my job because it is one of those rare jobs where you can learn every day. I have learned more this week from conversations with my long time friend, SOPA director Jason Kester, the most extraordinary educator, Stan Jennings, Angie Duduit, Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown and many more; just how positive things are looking for our area. I believe it is time to throw off our negative tendencies, and become positive – the glass is half full after all.
I guess I gushed a little bit, but when you are happier than you have ever been in your life, you want to share it with others.
I have a Christian friend who lives in Bethlehem. Her name is Mary Mousallam. Mary is in a most precarious set of circumstances. On one side is the Israeli government that doesn’t care much for those in her position and on the other side, the Palestinians, who don’t believe she is a first class citizen. Her family is oppressed every day, yet she has the time to pray for me. I am the subject of prayers from all over the world – no wonder my health is great and my attitude better than ever.
I can only credit my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for all that I am or ever will be. Romans 8:35-37 (J.B. Phillips) reads – “Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, pain or persecution? Can lack of clothes and food, danger to life and limb, the threat of force of arms? Indeed some of us know the truth of the ancient text: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.