“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:23
There is a gift listed here that is only three letters long. That small word encases the grace that makes life light and sunny. Maybe you guessed it? It’s joy!
The gifts of the Spirit are given by God, not only to navigate in this world. They’re given so we can be more like him. So if the source of joy is our Father, then he truly is a joyful Father.
Sometimes that’s hard for me to remember. I do share my happiness and praise to my Father. But I also share my wants, hurts, sorrow and confusion too. He bends his neck low to hear my whispered heartbreaks. He lays a gentle hand on my shoulder in the hard days. His strong, peaceful presence accompanies my morning and evening prayer.
I am so comforted by his love. But the one thing I don’t see? Joy.
It’s not that joy isn’t there. It’s all around me, because my Father is all around me. I don’t see it because I get distracted by my emotions.
When I look at a calm sea, my eyes go right for that one white cap in the distance. If I get a phone call from an old friend, followed by a thunderstorm, the storm takes center stage. Joy is in each situation, but I have to choose to experience it.
We brought our son home when he was two weeks old. We were brand new adoptive parents. When he started to cry, my husband looked at me with worried eyes and asked, “What do you think is wrong?”
I didn’t have a clue. I’d just met the young man myself. But, it’s usually an empty stomach or a full diaper, so I started there. That whole day was one ‘first’ after the other.
I know we were joyful. I know we were thankful. But it was a lot of stress, unknowns and fevered shopping too. (Not wanting to jinx the adoption, I only bought a few tee shirts, one outfit and some diapers.) So what do I remember most?
Oh, it was the joy. I chose to let that joy wash over me the first time he fell asleep in a heavy heap on my shoulder, drunk on formula. I would have missed so much happiness if I’d given into my feelings of inadequacy. Or the unknown reasons for crying. Or the sight of three soiled tee shirts in front of me…and I didn’t have any more.
Our Father wants me to look past my worries when I am with him too.
So the next time I pray, I’ll try not to get distracted by my own waves and storms. Instead, I’ll spend my time soaking in the grace of God’s presence. Hidden in that grace is everything he is. And he is joy.
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Linking today with: Sharing His Beauty