The Store of Happiness


The other night, I listened to a Francis Chan message on YouTube. He was talking about the abounding, backward joy we experience when we suffer for Jesus’ sake. One of his comments has been running circles in my mind:

“In the Beatitudes, it’s like Jesus walked into the store of happiness and changed all the price tags.”

That comment has inspired this post.

You walk in, and you are met by a salesman. Inscribed on his name tag are the letters D-E-C-E-I-T.

“Hello sir! Welcome! My name is Deceit, and I’m here to guide your experience through The Store of Happiness today. Is there anything in particular you are looking for?”

“Hi, umm..”

You’re puzzled. Perplexed. Deceit’s smile looks so gentle, and his voice rings so sweet. But his eyes look peculiar. Shifty. You’re not sure if you can trust him.

“Well, I don’t suppose so. I was told that this store has every means to happiness available. I’d like to take a look everywhere, I suppose.”

“Absolutely sir,” he replies. “I’d be glad to guide you throughout the store. I will warn you, though, we have a very large inventory. Seeing everything would take a very long time. So let’s start with our first room.”

You follow him. There’s a briskness—a light hop—in his step.

Continue reading “The Store of Happiness”



Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-15

Missing Slavery

You’ve been a slave your whole life. Your parents were slaves, your grandparents were slaves, and the 20 generations before them . . . slaves.

You wake up before the sun, head to the fields, and work. The heat is unbearable—113 °F. The callouses on your hands are thicker than what you’ll eat for dinner. And you don’t get a lunch break. Your back throbs from the incessant labor and the brutal whipping you received last week. After the sun goes down, you eat a forkful of smelly fish, two slices of cucumber, and an uncooked onion scrap. You head to a shack, lay on the dirt, find some twigs and loose hay as a makeshift, itchy pillow, and try to get some sleep.

Every single day, this is your life.

Continue reading “Snake-Bitten”