Ultimate Joy

Archive for July 2010

The best time I spent on Skidaway Island was with Henry.  Don’t go rolling your eyes! I enjoyed the time I spent with Richard, but Henry had Richard beat by a country mile.  That’s because Henry was the golf cart we rented to tour the island.  I named him Henry because he looked like a Henry.  He provided hours of exhilarating sightseeing at just the right pace – not too slow or not too fast.

God planted a loving measure of fun for us that day.  A time to laugh; a time to be joyful!  We often forget that God, who is there in our weakness, our neediness, our struggles, our headaches, is also there when we are giggling and amused.  He is smiling with us as we drank in the beauty of his earth…the Spanish moss, the lazy lagoons, the wildlife that inhabits the marshes.  God brings us cheer, laughter and refreshment to bless us, to renew us when we are weary, to strengthen us when we are weak, to lift our discouraged hearts, and to offer encouragement.  Of course, those lofty ideas weren’t exactly what I was thinking as we tooled around the island, but they are what I am thankful for right now as I look back on the fun day with Henry.

That’s because one of my personal failings is that I reach out to God in the middle of a crisis.  Yet in fun, I fail to even notice, much less thank Him for the unadulterated joy He tosses in my path.  Psalm 90:17 states:  let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.  God didn’t create the beauty in nature just for Himself.  He gave it to us as a gift that we might revel in it every time we notice the gentle song of the lark, the moss swaying in the wind or the strength of a giant oak tree. 

And that’s what Henry did for us – he slowed us down to a level where we could bask in the beauty of the Lord.  He took us places literally off the beaten path where we could drink in the goodness of the Lord.  A mechanical beast such as Henry took us to see the great expanse of nature, where we worshipped God in its beauty.

May you always seek God’s extended hand in the abundant joy that is showered in your life today.  His grace is extended in gleeful laughter, His mercies are still new every morning, and His arms are always outstretched to embrace us.

Skidaway Island, Georgia boasts a park aptly named Sunset Park.  That’s because the park affords a gorgeous view of the setting sun.  In this quiet environment, the sun reflects the power of God as it ends its day’s journey in Georgia and moved on to the far-flung corners of the earth.  The colors are spectacular, enlightening, thrilling, but also a little disheartening at the same time.  Day is done and an obvious thought is “How many sunsets do I have left?”

God created time as a gift for us.  In each glorious day, He has placed beautiful reminders of His power and love.  But He also gives us a reminder to enjoy each day to fullest, to celebrate life on earth.  The earth, as gorgeous as it may be, is temporary.  The Bible reminds us that:  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  (II Corinthians 5:17)

The earth is our training spot, our preparation for heaven.  We are to use this time to live in relationship with God and with each other.  Cherishing our time here, but yearning for the things of heaven and our live yet to come.

 As the sunlight turns from glorious oranges, pinks and violets to the shadows of dusk, I often use this time of day to thank God for all He has done for me that day.  It may be a small thing – the cooling sweetness of lemonade or it maybe a huge miracle that Christ graciously performed for me.  Either way, the majesty of each sunset reminds me of His presence…His goodness and mercy that follows us all the days of our lives.

This Friday evening my husband, Richard, and I went out for dinner with friends.  It was a grand adventure since the restaurant was in the middle of nowhere, somewhere near the Illinois/Wisconsin border.  What made the over an hour drive worthwhile?  This particular restaurant boasted the best chicken in the world.  It was great chicken, but what I will most remember about the evening was the warmth and caring of sharing a meal with great friends.

I love the time I spend with close friends.  Friends uplift me and inspire me.  It is great to hear their stories and to share mine in the kind of transparency that isn’t possible with a mere acquaintance.  They bring a deep happiness that tends to transcend this world.  Life is made of seasons, some are difficult and others are just plain easy.  But whatever season, friends make it so much better.  They teach me to soak up every last drop of life, whether the pain or the ecstasy.  They make the difficult times easier and the good times even greater.  Friends bring a fullness to live that just isn’t possible without them.

My wonderful friends are but a pale shadow of the Greatest Friend of all, Jesus Christ.  While they make life full and rich and I thank them for all the beautiful memories; Jesus brings perfection – faithful, loving, willing to walk through the fire with you.  His friendship changes you by the awesome power of  His love and challenges the way to life your life.  I’m so thankful that my friends echo the love and beauty that I find in my relationship with God Almighty.

 And so I offer this prayer to you…

 “May Jesus assure you that as you follow Him—you will never meet a fear He cannot conquer; you will never face an enemy He cannot defeat; you will never enter a battle He cannot win; you will never have a need He cannot meet; you will never face a temptation He cannot overcome; you will never have a burden He cannot lift; you will never face a problem He cannot solve; you will never have a bondage He cannot break; you will never have a moment when He does not care; you will never have a time when He is not there. Amen.”