UNEXPECTED JOY

1 PETER 1:8 – Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Have you ever been caught totally by surprise? For me, the greatest surprise of all is when I was surprised by joy in a church service in 1994. By that time I had been a Christian for over twenty years and had been a pastor for sixteen years. But joy? Really? You must be kidding! Now I have to admit those first early years as a Christian had been quite an adventure and I guess I would have to say joy was part of it. But what hit me that summer day in Texas was something quite different. This was something that got all over me and wouldn’t let go (not that I wanted it to). I was stuck in what could only be described as a state of supernatural joy. I think it is funny that C.S. Lewis described his conversion as an encounter with joy. Here are some of his words from his testimony.

“It may be asked whether my terror was at all relieved by the thought that I was now approaching the source from which those arrows of Joy had been shot at me ever since childhood. Not in the least. No slightest hint was vouchsafed me that there ever had been or ever would be any connection between God and Joy. If anything, it was the reverse. I had hoped that the heart of reality might be of such a kind that we can best symbolize it as a place; instead, I found it to be a Person. For all I knew, the total rejection of what I called Joy might be one of the demands, might be the very first demand He would make upon me. There was no strain of music from within, no smell of eternal orchards at the threshold, when I was dragged through the doorway.”

I guess that was the surprise for me as well. I had never associated God or spiritual things with joy. Now I couldn’t separate God from joy. Actually He is joy, the happiest of all beings. Didn’t David say that God sits in the heavens and laughs. When the voice like thunder, trumpets, and many waters laughs it is something that could never be forgotten. So maybe you need a good surprise. Surprised by this person called Joy will drive the fear, lust, and depression right out of your life.

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