Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10, NLT)
I foster joy with my twin granddaughters, Gabby and Gwyn. When they see me, they laugh. I want them to be happy when I am with them.
Joy comes from what we focus on. If we look long at pain, money woes, relational problems, or even sickness, this focus takes our joy. If we look at God, He takes away our problems, and we find joy, and our strength for living returns.
Our choice: joy or sadness.
After my twin granddaughters were born, I made a habit of tickling them. Being older now, they run and hide. Expecting a chase, Gabby laughs and hides behind a curtain in their house while Gwyn puts her arm over her eyes (I guess believing she is hiding).
No matter, I tickle and tickle. They laugh and laugh.
Such is a grandfather’s heart for his grandchildren; such is God’s joy with us.
If we can remember one aspect of our Christian faith, it’s that God delights in us. Yes, He challenges us and disciplines us, of course, but the core of our relationship with Him is love.
He loves us so much that He will chase us.
A delight of my “chasing game” with Gabby and Gwyn is their easy-to-find hiding places. A curtain or an arm just won’t do for serious hiding. But that’s the fun of it, as they want to be found.
This is Interruption #1000. I’ve been considering what should be the topic. My editor thought it should be the Millenium and I thought, “That’s it, that works, Interruption #1000 and the 0ne thousand-year Millenium mentioned in Revelation, chapter 20.”
Then I sat down to write this Interruption, and as often happens when I write these blog posts, my mind went to the G-Bops (what I call the twins) seeing my wife and me after our recent vacation.
When I pulled into the driveway, and they saw me, Gabby headed for the curtain, and Gwyn put her arm over her eyes. Then, tickles, laughing, and joy.
The joy of the Lord can be our strength if we focus on God in the midst of trials. We do hide and question — as frustration causes blame — but do we want to be found? Those who allow God to catch them, break them, and love them will laugh again.
Today our culture lacks joy. Look at faces as you walk through your day, and I guarantee that most do not show joy.
I know when I’m frustrated and dejected, I lose motivation and strength for living. Life can be oppressive, leading to despair, but God always chases us. Let’s realize that the games we play to run from Him don’t work.
At the core of true joy is humility; the Bible also calls it repentance or turning around and seeing God behind us. Since we can’t run, we might as well yield to His Presence and find joy again.
That’s it – Interruption #1000!
And speaking of joy, the staff of Naomi’s Heart Mission in the Philippines, a mission of ministry to orphans and widows in General Santos City, sent me this video celebrating the 1000th Interruption. I will be visiting this ministry in September to hold training in one-to-one disciple-making.