September 5 - Sad Children And A Happy, Smiling God

Sad Children And A Happy, Smiling God


The late, great humorist and author, Erma Bombeck, told this story of what had happened to her while in CHURCH one Sunday morning...

         I was intently watching a small child who was turning around and SMILING at everyone. He wasn't gurgling, spitting, humming, kicking, tearing up the hymnals or rummaging through his mother's handbag. He was just SMILING!

         Finally, his mother jerked him about and in a stage whisper that could be heard in a little theater off Broadway said: "Stop that grinning! You're in Church!" With that she gave him a belt and as the tears rolled down his little cheeks, she added, "That's better," and returned to her praying.

         We sing, "Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord" while our faces reflect the sadness of one who has just buried a rich aunt who left everything to her pregnant hamster.

         SUDDENLY I was angry! It occurred to me the entire world is in TEARS, and if you're not, then you'd better get with it. I wanted to grab this child with the tear-stained face close to me and tell him about my God. The HAPPY God! The SMILING God! The God who had to have a sense of humor to have created the likes of us. One who understands little children who turn around and SMILE in Church. I wanted to tell that little child that I too have taken a few lumps for daring to smile in an otherwise solemn religious setting.

         What a fool, I thought, this woman sitting next to the only sign of hope...the only miracle left in our civilization. If that child couldn't smile in Church...where was there left to go?

                                               (Adapted, excerpted, Erma Bombeck, "At Wit's End")

          Then Nehemiah said: "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).