A happy family photo where you can see joy on people’s faces. It often comes about from a special event, or a special holiday.
I love seeing joy on the kids faces still, especially so in the every day things we do. Jokes. Funny stories. Looking at something special that crosses our paths in the little things. In fact, I was looking at my flowers today, and thinking how amazing they are, and a smile was coming to my face. Joy.
At the same time, I was left wondering if I experience joy enough. Whether I take joy in Jesus – the author of life, the creator of all things, and the one through whom I have assurance. Do I love the life I have in Him, or do I take a more pessimistic view of the world around me, and grit my teeth in readiness for the hard slog ahead.
I understand that you can actually do both – experience joy while preparing for bad things to come. But its in the practice that this is hard. Because we often spend our time looking at the bad news, at the things that are hard. And we don’t spend enough time looking at, and marvelling at, the wonderful riches we have in Christ.
I look at my flowers every day, often several times a day. I notice that the bulbs are growing and starting to flower. I see the different colours. But its at a distance. Its not until today, that I paused to spend some time looking at the colours and patterns, and spend some time not doing anything but investigating the beauty, that I actually felt some joy at them. And even then, I cut that moment short because I had other things to do. Weeds to pull, a meeting to get ready for, documents to print for a group. I was willing to make joy much lower on my priority list.
As I reflected on that, I wondered if perhaps I wasn’t spending enough time focusing on what I have in Jesus. On dwelling in the joy that only he can bring. The more time I spend looking at him, not just on an intellectual level, but on a personal, daily level, the more joy I am going to get from the experience. As I notice the colours and patterns of the way he has ordered my life. The comfort of his presence by his Spirit. His reassurance and guidance through his Word. The regeneration of my soul through his love and sacrifice. The freedom from guilt and shame.
In listing these things, I am aware I am starting to sound a little like Paul’s letters. And its there that I know I can find joy, dwelling in it and letting it blossom life a beautiful flower. As I look at just how magnificent Jesus is, and spend time looking and noticing it. Letting the joy of that carry me through the bits where I need to grit my teeth, perhaps just that bit less tightly now.
Because Jesus is the one who brings joy.