Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Maggie and I recently read Pollyanna. I'd never read it before; I only knew that calling somebody "Pollyanna" was usually used as an insult which meant the person lived in Lala-land and couldn't see the reality of suffering and distress around them, somebody who always put on a fakey cheerful exterior for the rest of the world to see.

But that's not what I got from the book. Now, granted, we read an abridged version because I am a bear of very little brain. (My pride really took a hit when I was visiting at our church-school's open house, and the girls were reading Sense and Sensibility and I was pretty well clueless. Good thing my daughters taught Jane Austen to themselves!) The story of Pollyanna was fun to read. There was a bit of romance. A bit of childhood fun and wonder. A bit of adult drama. And the story of how love changes people. And it's about mercy and forgiveness. And for those who love to talk about "vocation," the story handles that well too. But honestly, some of what I'm writing makes it sound stuffy. It's really a fun book to read. Well, at least, our dumbed-down, abridged version was fun to read!

One of the things Pollyanna did was play the "glad game" her father taught her. They would try to find something to be glad about, no matter how terrible a situation might arise. Every cloud has a silver lining. God works in all things for the good of those who love Him, the ones called according to His purposes.

Since we finished Pollyanna, I've been noticing the word "glad" as I pray my psalms each day. Wow! "Glad" is in there a lot! But it's not "glad" that the sun is shining (even though I am very happy about that!), or "glad" that my old car hasn't bit the dust, or "glad" that my grown-up kids attend church. The "gladness" in the psalter is almost always the joy of sins forgiven, the comfort that we are IN Christ, the blessing that we have eternal life with the Lord. As Moses wrote, God makes us glad according to the days He has afflicted us. That's just weird -- the gladness in the midst of affliction.

And yet, there is no true joy, even in the happy things of life, unless we have forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. And even when the happy things of life are missing, even when our minds play tricks on us and make us miserable, even when the world and the demons attack, they cannot take away what God has done for us. When we believe that, when we really really believe that, against all evidence to the contrary, there is no way that we can be robbed of gladness of heart. [God have mercy on me for all the unbelief and idolatry which makes me focus on my circumstances instead of trusting in what His Word gives.]

I'm getting far afield. I just wanted to say that Pollyanna is a good book. But now my brain is full of Gerhardt hymns:
If God Himself be for me, I may a host defy....
Rejoice my heart, be glad and sing....
O Love, how cheering is Thy ray! All pain before Thy presence flies...


  1. I have not read the book, though I plan to, because I loved the movie so much! Though, it could be because I like Hayley Mills... :)

  2. I loved Pollyanna. First the book and then the movie.

    And you are one of the last people I would describe as having "very little brain." :)