Don’t be afraid; have fun!
For a long time now, if asked what my favorite scripture verse is, I say Luke 12:32. It reads, “Do not live in fear little flock, it has pleased your Maker to give you the kindom.”
A quick word about that verse before I tell a little story about my recent Friday night escapade, and what that has to do with my spiritual health.
I grew up believing in a God of retribution. This was an angry God – the one of whom Jonathan Edwards spoke when he preached about “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Sin was bad – and anything that gave me pleasure, made me smile, or left me filled with glee was accompanied by some form of guilt. It had to be bad if it felt that good, right?
I was in my early 20s when this verse caught my attention. I had begun to doubt that everything that brought me joy should bring me guilt. It didn’t feel right anymore. I had likely read or heard this verse before, but when I read it this time it felt like the first time – and I have let it linger ever since: “Do not live in fear little flock, it has pleased your Maker to give you the kindom.”
THAT did not sound like a description of a God of retribution.
Over the years, I have made toys for our children: a doll house for Molly, a whirling top that knocked over pins for Adam, an African drum made of oak wood for John. Few things gave me more joy than watching them play with them and be delighted by the experience. I imagine that is akin to what our Maker feels when She sees us enjoying the work of Her hands. “Look what I made for your pleasure! Enjoy it, please. It makes me happy.”
And so, when I took last Friday evening to watch a baseball game in my hometown with new friends and experienced real joy, I did so utterly guilt free. All night long, we told stories and ate good food and watched an exciting game.
We bet quarters on certain players getting hits, winning a couple dollars or losing a couple (I was in the latter category).
We reminisced about childhood experiences.
We shared about encounters we had had with major league players. These included stories about last calls at bars late in the night, about being in Cooperstown to see your favorite player inducted into the Hall of Fame, favorite home runs, and so many other wonderful memories.
The night ended too quickly, even though I didn’t get to my hotel room until the wee hours of the morning.
And it is my hope, and perhaps even my expectation, that as I lay my head upon the pillow, God smiled. “Do not live in fear little flock. It is your Maker’s good pleasure to give you the kindom.”
Enjoy this life. It’s the only one you are given. No guilt need accompany your smile on this, your journey Into the Mystic.