Last night in our final Perspectives session (one of these days I’m going to write a post about how that amazing class has “ruined” my life!!) our speaker shared about the ways the Holy Spirit has been working – and is continuing to work! – in the world. His stories were compelling and beautiful. As he spoke, he would often break off into giggles at the amazing things God is doing. That sounds childish and silly, but honestly, he giggled!
And, here’s the thing. This is a man who has been in many, many countries in the world. People have shared stories with him that would knock most of us down, if not cause us to literally gag, at their horror. He has spent time with those who have plenty of reasons to hate an American Christian. He has taught in closed countries where jumping out a back window was seriously the ‘escape plan’ if the police showed up. This man has not been in great health, is in his 70s, but still keeps up an exhausting schedule flying all over the world to share Jesus. His writing and speech are filled with words like Wonder, Marvel, Amazing, and Much Joy. Much Joy. Even his health challenges have renewed a passion to live each day in joyous service to Jesus. Humbling? Oh, my, yes!!
Lately, I have not been feeling joy. I have been feeling duty and drudgery and a need to do lots of work on myself. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit is moving in me to confront stuff. But, I’ve been approaching it as a task to trudge through, not as time to be in His loving presence. As I’ve shared before, my mom had cancer while she was pregnant with me. The doctors were not sure I would even be born. My parents gave me a name that expressed their thankfulness to God. What’s my middle name? Joy. Hmmm.
Last night was a reminder that serving our crucified, risen and returning Savior is much joy. A joy that is not based on circumstances, but in the One who came to restore it. Sitting listening to this man, an amazing servant of our amazing God, I saw a glimpse of what the ‘abundant life’ Jesus offers can look like. Where no matter what’s going on, we just have to giggle because God is so very good. So, today, I am recommitting to laughter and giggling and joy. Not a silly, naïve happiness that ignores life. But that deep joy which comes from having my life hid in Christ Jesus. That’s what the world needs to see. That’s what can cause transformation. I want to be a part of that light, shining out in joyful abandon at the crazy wonder of it all. Wanna join me?!