Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Joy Unspeakable

I suppose it is hard to talk about joy in Jesus without talking about the Holy Spirit.  Ah, the Holy Spirit, aka, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the Comforter, the third Person of the Trinity (I don’t know why we put the Holy Spirit Third) – the most misunderstood, and sometimes minimized part of the Godhead.  Okay, the nerd is not going to talk about theology.  What I am going to talk about today is Joy in Jesus and that’s experiential.  Sometimes it is a good idea to go with it, to experience God.  As Wesley said, describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.”

That’s hard for me.  I’m an “objective thinker.”  I remember the first time I saw a glow on people’s faces when they prayed.  You can read about it here.  I remember thinking, wow, that’s wonderful.  My mother told me it was what happened in the Bible, in the book of Acts.  As I got older, I heard of Azusa Street (make sure your speakers are on for this link), I heard my mother and father speak of their experience with the Holy Spirit.  I heard and read about other revivals. 

It was the mid-90’s.  I was beginning to realize I was getting old.  I thought, I want to experience, see, be a part of an Azusa Street type experience. I knew the way to revival was prayer.  I started going to the church every day on my lunch hour to pray.  A dear friend and co-worker went with me. I had never spent that much time in concentrated prayer.  At the same time I started reading of revival experiences in various locations.  I thought I want to go there – I want to see that, I want to be part of that… but I couldn’t.  Money and responsibilities prevented it.  I prayed all the harder because the only way I was going to experience revival was if it came to me.
I could say so much about that time-period. So many things God taught me.  So many people I met along the way.  One of them was the pastor who put together a mission trip to Norway in 2002 – I met him by accident, online.  That chance meeting was so providential.  Because of that, I met David and here we are nearly ten years later blogging. 

But what about joy in Jesus?  Oh that came.  The months of daily lunchtime prayer at church brought revival joy that bubbled up from the depths of our hearts and souls.  It was uncontainable.  Like the old gospel song – It is Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory.

It was August 1997.  Just before my world collapsed and I sunk into a deep night of the soul.  Something was happening that would devastate when I found out weeks later.  All day I had sensed that this was my night.  We were in a series of nightly meetings.  Funny how when the Holy Spirit shows up, so do the people, night after night, in the heat of the summer.  I was there each night.  I would pray with people.  It was wonderful.  But this day, this night, I just sensed something would be different. It was.

I can’t explain it in worlds.  The objective thinker who analyzes everything only knows it was real and it was wonderful. Oh I didn’t laugh that night.  I didn’t roll on the floor that night.  It was as if the heavens opened and I walked in.  It was as if I had found that open door mentioned in Revelation 4.  For a short period of time it was as if I was with Jesus in some heavenly realm.  As odd as that sounds, and believe me, I know it sounds odd, it sounds like a hallucination, it was very real.  Whatever it was, my heart was strangely warmed.  Whatever it was, I experienced a depth of joy.  Whatever it was, it got me through the depths of the dark night I was soon to experience. The joy of the Lord WAS my strength.

Joy will do that.  Jesus will do that.  He does give Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory. 

Has this joy sprung up in your soul?  


Tracy said...

Thank you for sharing this, it's so beautiful. Your faith, your earnest seeking after God, blesses me and encourages me in my faith. Isn't that just like God to give you a bit of His presence to shore you up before the storm?!

David-FireAndGrace said...

The joy of the Lord is our strength - not our laughter.

Thanks, Joyce!