Yesterday, I was asked a question that stirred up a sweet memory. The problem is that the memory has continued to invade my every thought. Hoping to receive some relief from all of the pondering, I am writing.
My memory is of a migrant work camp in San Quintin, Mexico. Many years ago, we pulled up to the temporary housing of farm workers. People would work at this farm until the crop was harvested, then move on to the next farm.
As we approached, I first noticed the small tin, one room sheds that would be called home to an entire family in the evening. In the day, everyone in the family would work the fields.
The second thing I observed were the children. So many children. As we parked, they came running. Beautiful, smiling little faces. I had a jar of bubbles. As I would hold the wand out for a child to blow a bubble, giggles would erupt. I would turn my face and see another child, patiently waiting his turn to produce a bubble. No pushing, no shoving, no arguing. Just waiting to see if he would be noticed and have an opportunity to join in the fun.
A tarp was spread on the ground and a movie screen produced so that the Jesus film could be played. Parents came out to watch. I sat on the tarp and was immediately surrounded by children. Two sat on my lap. Two leaned against me, silently requesting arms that would hold them. Others sat at my legs and feet. Pure joy!
As we began to watch the film, a gently breeze began to blow. The sky was so dark that the stars twinkled like flickering diamonds. It was a beautiful evening...and then I began to think. "Hmmm...tomorrow I could have lice. I've never had lice. What do you do with lice? What do they look like?" As my mind took off in a self-centered fashion, suddenly a new thought totally interrupted my thoughts. I heard, not audibly, yet loud and clear, "Better is one day in My courts than a thousand elsewhere."
First, I was shocked. Then I began to smile. I knew exactly what the verse from Psalm 84 meant. I was actually living the verse. There was absolutely no place else in the entire world that I would rather be than sitting on the ground in that migrant work camp. I was sitting in God's courts.
I'm different today because of that blessing. I think that was the moment that I finally understood that nothing material in this world matters. Nothing!
But why is the memory obsessing my thoughts now? What lessons do I need to remember today?
1. As a Christian, I live in God's courts daily so why do I discover the richness of His presence in the humblest of circumstances?
a) Maybe because Jesus loves humility.
b)Maybe because Jesus came for the poor in spirit.
c)Maybe because "stuff" gets in the way of seeing God clearly. Simplicity can be very good thing.
d) Maybe we should expect to find God at work revealing Himself in the midst of human need.
2. If everything in my bank account were gone tomorrow, I could live joyfully because I have something of far greater value. I have Jesus in my life. It's more than a hope or theory. It's truth.
3. Grumbling and complaining are usually about things that have absolutely no eternal value. What does it matter? Who is in control and hasn't He proved Himself trustworthy time and time again? We have so much, why should we not be living our days in gratitude?
4. We can learn so much through children.
Oh, and no, I did not have lice the next day! Instead, I was left with a sweet memory and a taste of heaven.