Somehow, in the confusion of my first semester of college, I found myself in an Honors Biology class, taught by a man who looked strikingly similar to Chewbacca.
This was a grave error on my part, since the wookiee thing was both extremely distracting and far more interesting than photosynthesis.
And, unfortunately, I realized much, much too late that all my classmates had taken Honors Biology in high school, so most of what we were learning was just review for them. They could afford to spend a few minutes distracted by Chewy.
I could not.
(All kidding aside, he was a very kind teacher. But I oft imagined him wookiee-roaring during class. Very distracting, indeed.)
Anyway, all that to say, I believe I got a “D” on my first test. Probably the lowest score in the class, and things began to get serious for Little Miss Straight A Student here.
Chewy or no Chewy, I had to pass that blasted class.
I started studying like I had never studied before. I fretted and worried and called my parents crying and prayed and dreaded.
I crammed for tests for hours. My brain turned mushy. (Not ideal, mind you.)
And then on test day, the pages handed to me were still somehow always printed in a bizarre and unfamiliar language, a language where every word started with “chloro.”
And I didn’t speak “Chloro.”
But I had to pass that class.
Finally, by God’s great mercy, the last test rolled around. I had nearly made it. I needed a “B.”
One last cram-fest and my days with Chewy were over. He would not be missed.
I headed to a nearby park. I had already been at it for hours and my brain was full. Maybe the sunshine would help.
I stretched out on my stomach on the grass. I spread my book and notes in front of me. I watched a little pug dog running loose around the playground. And I tried, oh how I tried, to study.
Sometime, about an hour or so in, I was deep in my notes. My head was bowed, and I was still.
And what happened next, happened fast.
That pug appeared from out of nowhere.
He came at me from the side, running hard and panting and pawing with tongue-dangling happiness.
Before I knew what was happening, he had planted his two little front paws on the top of my head and catapulted straight over me.
I was his launch pad, apparently.
He landed smoothly on my other side and continued on his way. I didn’t see him again.
I just hope someone was watching. It surely made their day.
I still laugh every time I think of it.
Why in the world didn’t he just go around me?
He was just so darn happy, and it was so random.
But I guess sometimes a pup just needs to jump.
I know sometimes that I just need to loosen up.
So I didn’t study much more. I had laughed too hard, and biology had lost its terror.
I passed the test and the class.
Chewy and I were finished.
So I’ve struggled a bit to write this one this week.
Life is heavy with both the good and the bad, and I am busy with spills and trips and meetings and laundry.
And my thoughts are only halfway there as it is.
I am torn with a bazillion prayer requests for a bazillion different people, local and world news that I can hardly stomach, and the burden of What is a Christian to do in all of this?
It is heavy, and I wonder at the woman in Proverbs who “can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)
How does she do it?
And then I remember something.
Though I can turn off the news when it gets too hard to handle, God cannot. If He is all-knowing and ever-present, then His knowledge of the bad goes far beyond mine, far beyond what even the news reports.
I can turn the channel or just stop listening, but He cannot stop hearing the mamas’ cries for their malnourished babies. He sees the trafficked victims. He’s aware of every injustice, every corruption, every blatant disregard for holiness.
He hears my constant my prayer requests, my friends’ prayer requests, their friends’ prayer requests and then some.
God sees and knows everything. It would surely be enough to convince Him that there was absolutely no good in the world. He would surely be like me. Heavy.
God is joyful.
How could he not be?
Every time I think of that pug in the park, leaping blissfully over my head, I remember that God created that dog and orchestrated that moment for no other explainable reason except that He knew I needed a laugh.
Because He is joyful.
It was God, not accident, who created that ticklish spot under Sweetie Edy’s neck or Christian Boy who wiggles and squeals even when he just thinks you’re going to kiss his tummy.
He designed my Hattie, who answered this year on a Mother’s Day questionnaire that mommy’s favorite movie star is “TinkerBell,” and (bless you, child) that I am 21 years old.
He made my dad, a man who will dance like an idiot just to get my kids to smile for the picture.
God is surely joy.
You know that verse in Nehemiah that says, “…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength?” (Neh. 8:10)
Well, I’ve always struggled with that verse, with what it means exactly.
But this week, I had a thought.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the reason the joy of the Lord is our strength is because God sees everything.
Because He sees the good. The bad. The right now. And, mostly, because He sees the end.
God can be joyful even in this mess of life because He knows the good that is coming. He knows the happy ending that awaits those who love Him. He knows that, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, the Good Guys win.
The Proverbs 31 woman can laugh at the days ahead because God can laugh at the days ahead. He sees good things. She trusts in Him. He has joy. So she has joy.
His joy is her strength.
That’s how she does it.
So when I gets too serious, too deep in this world, God sends a pug.
Just to bring me back to joy.
(And, yes, most definitely, Someone was watching.)
What about you? Where do you see His joy? When has He sent you a pug?
I will be taking a blogging break for the next week (or two). Thanks, friends, for reading. I’ll see you soon.