Isn’t it easy, as we go about the business of day to day living, to slip into that mindset that we are in control? That we are the master’s of our destiny; That it is our decisions and actions that input the GPS “destinations” of our earthly course. None of us likes to entertain the idea that we are helpless feathers in a fickle wind. Yet, on the other hand, since we cannot see our supernatural God, it is often easier to not consider Him at all.
Oh, many of us are happy to recognize Him as the Savior who validates our, all important, Heaven Ticket as we exit the parking garage of life; but then we drive on, thinking that was all that was needed. We are set.
Thinking that we had it completely figured out, we packed God away in a box on the backseat, head off down the highway and neglect the necessity and effort it takes to forge a bulletproof relationship with the King of Kings. (which requires letting Him out of the box, by the way!)
Some of you know that I am slowly writing a novel set during the Siege of Vicksburg. In the midst of that almost constant, horrendous bombardment by Union forces, Fever Season character, little Mo,was buried alive when the back portion of the large “cave” they had dug for protection collapsed. His family and friends scrambled to unearth him from the cave-in and he was eventually pulled to safety, amazingly unscathed, scared to death but otherwise unscathed. His mother, Sadie, is so overcome at the survival of her only son, that she throws her grimy apron over her head and weeping cried out “Aw, Lawd! It’s that joy unspeakable! Now, I knows! Now, I knows!”
She knew the Bible verse in 1 Peter 1:8-9 “Whom having not seen, you love: in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. For you are receiving the goal of your faith, the Salvation of your souls”
In a heartbeat, Sadie’s vision had shifted and she suddenly understood, not only, what it was to have lost a son and then to have him restored. But also, in the midst of an already horrible circumstance she caught a glimpse of something greater. In the clarity of just one sparkling, revelatory instant, that experience enabled her to relate to her God differently, dependently, entirely.
Joy is what sustains us through dire circumstance. Joy is the” rest” and security of relationship and belonging when all other relationships are fleeting and shifting.
Joy is the knowledge that we have eternal purpose even when our earthly “career” has cratered. Joy is knowing that this is NOT my home and I am only here to love people for awhile and extend invitations to the ultimate,”real”housewarming party!
Joy is NOT a feeling. It is no way based on emotion or circumstance.
Former slave,Sadie’s unspeakable Joy is that shining diamond of “faith knowledge” that for whatever reason, God really loves me! He sent his Son to take may place and snatched me off the road to hell- a certain death sentence. That is the”REAL” freedom from slavery for all of us.Isn’t it interesting that folks will exert an enormous amount of energy planning out every facet of life’s journey.
Their education, career path and retirement is mapped out to the ‘nth degree and in frightening detail and yet they never even try to tap into what God’s plan is for their lives. How often, do we as Believers, gratefully clutching our eternal salvation to our breast, believe that that was the ONLY treasure and drive on under the guidance of our own GPS. Think of the Joy potential that is overlooked, the priceless, fulfillment quotient never remotely realized.
Nor is it based on my health, my career, my address, my earthly situation or the results of flawed planning, failed relationships or poor choices. My joy is all because of Jesus!
God is everyone’s Creator but, He is not your Father until you ask Jesus into your heart. My Joy then grows from a relational-positional place. You must ask for that relationship. In a previous post I wrote of a real life “God encounter” I had a few years ago where He told me that “it was all about the Joy” It rocked my world and changed my course, forever. ( see The Voice post in the archives) If God is my Father then I know nothing can change my status. I am a child of the King and as such, just one of the treasures and outgrowths I have in that relationship is Joy Unspeakable.
I am in a constant state of “heart” rejoicing. Joy is the passport, found in worship, that carries me into the presence of God.In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews he writes this: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the JOY set before him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ( Hebrews 12:2)
People, he is saying that for Jesus, incredible as this may seem, WE were the Joy, set before him, that had him enduring crucifixion and separation from God the Father so that WE could be with Him there at the right hand of God someday! And because of all that, reciprocally, He needs to be THE source of our Joy. Fix your Eyes!