Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confident Joy

I have a new puppy. A beautiful black lab female named Jasmine. She’s about 8 months old and absolutely full of life and vigor.

She finds joy in getting up in the morning. She finds joy in eating and chewing on rawhide treats. She finds joy in going outside to potty. She finds joy in playing with me and her four-legged siblings. She finds joy in sitting beside the bed at night and watching us fall asleep.

Bear is my old-man black lab. He’s nine years old now and appears to have long since forgotten how to play or how to be joyful about much of anything. But just let me hold out a piece of left-over steak. Or pull out a tennis ball and ask him if he wants to play fetch. For an old dog, he sure can bust a move! He’s still got the fire deep inside.

His decline in playfulness has been so gradual over the years that I had forgotten how he was as a pup. It took bringing Jasmine into our home to remember the joy – and trials! – of having a Labrador puppy in the family. Ahhhh, youth.

In our young church, we have a lot of new Believers. Many of them were unchurched when they came to Christ, so they have no pre-conceived notion of how they should behave. It is entirely too cool to watch their spirits bubble over with love and joy for their Savior. Sometimes I watch them and get convicted that I don’t seem to bubble as much as they do.

It’s then that I realize that still waters run deep. My joy has settled into my soul and has become part of who I am. It’s not just icing on the cake anymore. It has permeated my soul.

It’s kinda like being married for a long time to your best friend. Just because you’re not still slobbering all over one another doesn’t mean the love isn’t as intense. It has just gone deeper. It’s simply a strong, peaceful, abiding love. Not the puppy-lickin’ kind of love of young lovers.

Growing older in faith seems to parallel deepening marital joy. New Believers are like a new spring bursting forth from the surface of the ground. But those that have walked this path for a while are like a high-magnitude spring that has flowed for years and has birthed a deep, calm river.

Our joy comes from somewhere deep within us – it resides there because we are secure on The Rock. Our joy is not dependent on circumstance but instead, rests confidently at the door of an empty tomb.

Regardless of what comes during our time on this planet, we know what eternity holds.

It is joy unspeakable.

But don’t you know … no matter how long we’ve been walking with Him, Jesus still gets tickled when we get all giddy about Him again?

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