Splashes of Joy in the Mud Puddles of Life

Today's devotion comes to us from Linda Babcock.  Did you have siblings growing up?  Linda did; three brothers!  Family life will certainly teach us many lessons.  Linda's devotion today is about how her family life taught her the very important skill of finding joy in the midst of challenge.  Enjoy!

Reverend Dave


“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness…Create in me a pure heart, O God.” Psalm 51:7-8,10

I have three younger brothers.  When they were little, they used to play cowboys and Indians in the back yard, or pretend they were out hunting with our Pop Pop.  One day, when my middle brother was five or six, he was playing outside and had his toy rifle aimed at the trees to stalk some birds.  As he tracked through the yard with his eyes in the sky, all of a sudden, the ground gave way underneath him – and just like in a cartoon, he fell down into a hole; but, as he fell, the rifle in his hands stopped the fall as it held fast across the top of the hole.  And a good thing, too – he was up to his armpits in the cesspool!

After a lot of screaming and hollering, he got Mom’s attention (or maybe one of the other boys ran toward the house to tattle on him!)  Mom blocked the door so he couldn’t get back in the house.  There he stood oozing slime and stinking to the high heavens.  Mom proceeded to make him strip down to his birthday suit on the back steps and hosed him (and his pile of stinky stuff) off before he was escorted into the house and up to the bathroom for a serious scrubbing.

Sometimes when we fall into life’s mud puddles (or cesspools), someone has to help us climb out – or pull us out kicking and screaming!  And, usually, even if we are thoroughly “hosed off,” bits of mud still cling to us in the hidden places of our hearts – the places only God can see.  Sometimes, we need to be scrubbed so hard it really hurts and leaves us raw and tender for a long time.  We need reminders of God’s promises to get us through those “mud puddle moments.”

Sometimes, when we try looking up to find splashes of joy in the midst of challenges, we lose our footing.  That’s when we need to remember the scriptures God gave us for those times.  Psalm 55:16-17 says, “But I call to God and the Lord saves me.  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice…Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.”  Psalm 121:3 says, “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber.”  (I guess my brother was trusting THIS promise that morning!)

How do we find those splashes of joy that we need when we keep falling in mud puddles? Always, always remember how God washes us and cleans us up, no matter what.  His love rinses away the residue we pick up trying to protect ourselves from life’s messy circumstances.  When He is finished with us, we are shining and ready to reflect God’s love to others.  God’s covering of grace is enough for any problem we may think we have. We are put in community to show that love and joy to one another.

- Linda Babcock
Lord, thank you for reminding me that you are love, you bring us joy and gladness, and you made us to share your love and joy generously with others, no matter what their circumstances or ours might be.  Amen

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