The road to Cleveland has been privilege to many of my conversations with God. The highway has carried my vehicle while it’s been full of questions and confessions of faith about Dads health. Coming into the city, you are bombarded with signage reminding you that this the “Kings” city. Lebron, with his arms stretched wide and eyes toward the Heavens, pales in comparison to the position I’ve watched Mom be in as her eyes turn the same direction, but her hands go from wringing to clasped in confident prayer as she supersedes the city’s King and goes to the throne that has never known a loss.
I’ve driven this trip so often that it’s almost became familiar. Yet, even in the familiarity of the road, I have found unique treasure and memories in the conversations, the hard questions, and the laughter along the journey. I’m not recounting this to claim thankfulness for the sickness that we are trying to combat. I’m just sitting here looking out at the landscape of a snowy city, feeling thankful for family. Thankful for peace when it should be gone. Thankful for laughter when the situation more easily lends itself to tears. In this season of Good News & Great Joy, I find myself grateful that although JOY may get jostled in the journey, it most certainly doesn’t have to be lost. Joy isn’t dependent on circumstance. Rather, it’s designed with a stick-to-it-tiveness that few other things in the universe possess.
In the busyness of schedule and struggles, I had become forgotten the impact and invaluable wealth of this Jesus given gift called J O Y. Sitting here in the hospital with Just as few answers about Dad’s health as ever, in the slowness of this moment I was reminded. Watching the snowflakes cover the bush and ground with their determination to “stick to it” regardless of the salt being spread in areas around them, they stick regardless. They are designed to stay. To stay and fulfill their mission until God determines that snow has had its day. I looked at the snow and found a mirror reflecting something in me. My life has been filled with Joy on purpose. It’s not supposed to be tossed into a box until I have the time to smile. It’s meant to be worn daily; to be as readily accessible as smart phones that decorate everyone’s hands in this waiting area. I choose Joy. I didn’t create it or own it, but I choose to wear it as it was intended. To smile through the salt and stick to the purpose I’ve been sent to accomplish!
This Sunday, as you’ll set in service and sing those familiar songs and hear that familiar story of that Bethlehem birth, don’t let the familiar suffocate the Joy! Instead, receive it with the same hope and wonder that you did when you first realized that The Manger was in response to Our Mess. When traveling that same road that you’ve traveled so often, look for the treasures that God has hidden in a conversation or a shared laugh. Worship is born in these moments. Not worship that has its umbilical attached to your favorite set list or laser pattern, but real worship. I sit here in Cleveland clinic with no instrument or microphone to signal it’s time to worship, but I’m in awe of His worthiness and faithfulness just the same. Wrapped in the blanket of Joy, my heart is in full worship.
Maybe it’s not time to find a new road with “better options.” Perhaps, it’s the perfect time to rediscover what you already have and be overwhelmed with wonder again. Let Joy crawl back out of the shadows and find yourself whole in the middle of brokenness.