(Published as today's 'E-thought' available each weekday by free subscription at www.eTHOUGHTSteam.com)
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 (NIV)
In Vacation Bible School we’d sing, “If you’re happy and you know it say ‘Amen.’”
And all of us little ones would yell, “AMEN!,” mainly because the preacher had just told us to, but maybe because we really WERE happy, or at least didn’t know enough to know we weren’t.
We grew up. We got busy. Had our hearts broken. Found out people didn’t act right. Paid to have a transmission replaced. Clocked in.
We became unhappy.
For years, I missed it all. “Don’t be afraid,” the angels said. “I bring you good tidings of great joy…” I heard them say they were bringing me rules to follow, a tough row to hoe, but don’t worry: it will be worth it in the end.
Except that’s not what they said.
They were bringing me good NEWS. Not something that I had to do, but something that had been done FOR me, already. Good tidings of great joy. The gospel. The Good News. “I am coming to you NOW … so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them…” (John 17:13, NIV)
A heavenly host shouted the good news across the sky -- but I missed it. We reject a Savior because we misunderstand. We don’t even know who he is. We miss the sign of the water into wine. We forget that heaven is a feast. We neglect to taste, and see that the Lord is good.
Where the gospel is not believed and received, there can be no joy. A fallen world will not allow it. But where the gospel lives and shouts and sings across the sky, there can be nothing but.
“Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:23 NIV)