Jumping for Joy

My favorite place to pray is a forest preserve near my home. There are trails leading to all kinds of secluded places where I can be alone with God. It’s there that things have been getting pretty silly lately. I hope you don’t think me too odd but I really feel lead to share some of these things.

Recently, while I was jamming to Jesus Culture with my huge white headphones, I felt the freedom to just start skipping as fast as I could in one direction. And it wasn’t a standard skip either. It was a power-stutter-skip kind of thing. I would take two small skips and on the third skip. It must have looked pretty odd!

Another time I felt the freedom to do a backwards running-jumping-skipping kind of thing. I can’t really describe it except to say it probably looked like some sort of foolishness you’d see a cocky football player engage in after scoring the game winning touchdown. Weird, huh?

I know what you might be thinking. To be a follower of Christ is a serious thing. We are called to pick up our cross (Matthew 16:24), bear burdens (Galatians 6:2) and walk with wisdom (Colossians 4:5). Even our witness should contain sorrow on the account of those who are unrepentant and perishing (Romans 9:2). Human suffering is real. Hell is real. These are sobering facts. I get that.

Even so…

Children of God get to be happy!

Joy should be our default mode. It should be instinct to the believer. It should be the central reality of our Christian experience. No matter what. “Count it all joy,” said James of trials (James 1:2). Paul said that his joy “knows no bounds” when he suffered (2 Corinthians 7:4). Joy was the motivation for Jesus to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Joy is not a Pollyanna. Joy doesn’t shrink back from suffering. Joy stands in the midst of darkness because it will be the only thing left standing in the end. Joy finds its root in this beautiful truth: the best thing that God could ever do for us He has already done!

Jesus died that we might live. He took on a debt we couldn’t pay to give us a life we didn’t deserve. Now our settled destiny is to spend eternity with Him. As for this life - all of our guilt, shame, fear, doubt, anxiety, anger, bitterness and other ills are nailed to a tree and washed in blood. The Blood of God’s only son.

It’s called “Good News” because it’s really good and it’s already published. It’s a done deal. If that doesn’t get you skipping, I don’t’ know what will! We can be happy. We can skip and dance and sing. We can be like children. Because our Abba is good.

The world is a cynical and hard place. But we have a King in Heaven. And His presence fills us with joy unspeakable! All we need to do is prime the pump a little bit and get the juices flowing.

But for you that honor my name, victory will shine like the sun with healing in its rays, and you will jump around like calves at play.
— Malachi 4:2