Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Joy Fest

There is this really great episode of “Friends” where Phoebe and Rachel go running in Central Park. Rachel runs like everybody else, but Phoebe has a special way of running. She just lets loose and throws her arms and legs everywhere while she runs as fast as she can, the way she did when she was a little girl. Phoebe simply explains that if she is going to have to run she is going to have fun doing it. After being very judgmental about Phoebe’s “form,” eventually Rachel gives in to that childlike delight in running at breakneck speed with arms and legs flailing in the wind.

How about you? When was the last time you gave in to the simple delight of being alive? I love going shopping for the Wesley Foundation with Becky, our campus missionary intern, and whoever else happens to be there. It is always an adventure. And something about the delight of being out of the office and in a place with lots of cool stuff sets in. I’m worse than a kid in a candy store. Funny, it’s not as fun shopping by myself. There is no one to share the joy with. No one to show all the cool stuff to. No one to be a witness to the silliness that is part of my childlike delight.

I believe that Jesus was, is, full of delight. I believe that He takes great pleasure in the simple things of life. I believe that He regularly laughed out loud on earth, and I believe that He regularly laughs out loud in Heaven. We have heard the scripture that says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” But how seriously do we take that Word of the Lord? Maybe this is why so many Christians are so “not strong.” It seems we have gotten so serious about belonging to God that we have left the parts of God that aren’t “serious” out. Those are important parts! The JOY of the Lord is my strength. Not the discipline of the Lord, not the rules of the Lord, not the determination of the Lord, not the power of the Lord, not the wisdom of the Lord, but the JOY OF THE LORD.

My prayer for you is that you experience the Lord’s joy. It is a precious, precious thing. It “takes a lickin’, but keeps on tickin’.” God’s joy cannot be taken away. It is the gift of His presence which is with us always. Only we can squelch it. Only we can put it out of our lives and pretend it is not there. So many Christians live a miserable existence, but this is not, and never has been, the Lord’s intention for any of us. So do something harmless and crazy and fun. Fill your life with delight. Let the Lord show you how to really laugh again. Allow Jesus to give you His strength.



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