October 26, 2006

Joy and Johnny Cash

I have been thinking about Joy. I remembered CS Lewis's book - "Surprised by Joy" and so that is on my list of books I want to read. I'm not searching to be surprised by joy - though I'm sure I will be as I seek out joy - but I just wonder where joy is... Joy isn't due to circumstances - but is something richer - and I know I've been lacking it. I think I have had joy in my life - even in recent days. When I feel love - I feel joy - when I feel peace - I feel joy, but I'm of the mind at the moment - that joy, like love can be, is a choice. Joy is deeper than feeling. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. I regret that when I share about my life - its as though there is something there to feel sad for me... I think that is due to a lack of joy. I want a realistic joy - not a senseless joy - but an act of the will which chooses to express positive and hopeful feelings of the present situations. I read a devotional by Amy Charmichael and she spoke about how when the burnt offerings were made - there was continual rejoicing through music - and that we too have our own offerings to bring through our lives consecrated to God - and its the nature of the giving of our offering that gives it worth in Gods eyes - and He loves a cheerful giver. Let me be a cheerful giver!! I am making no sacrafice that is too burdensome - but I have much to be thankful for - much to rejoice in - I have reason to live with joy!!

And yet there are things that hurt... While I was thinking of these things I looked out the window at the dog that was yapping and yapping. Its a lovely little black dog - full of excitement - its tied up at the corner of a house in a closed off yard - in the shade. It can't bask in the sun, and when its been raining lots like it has recently - its damp and cold. I'm sure he has a coat that keeps him warm and that he is used to the weather - but he yapped and yapped - cause he wanted some attention - some food, some company, some freedom. All the while it was wagging its excited tail. I watched it wishing I was nearer so I could throw it a treat to eat. Then I saw the lady of the house come out - but instead of giving it a scruffy pat on the head - she took out a big bottleful of water - and splash, splash, splash - three big glugs of water splashed all over the hopeful little dog. I was so sad to see that... She turned back swiftly indoors - and the dog - dejected and wet, drooped its tail and curled up silent, with a little less spirit left in it.

And then I thought about joy... and I thought about Johnny Cash and his song "Man in Black" He tells all the reasons why he wears black - and would continue to - and it was for all the hurting ones, all those who suffered injustice or deciet or all those who never knew Jesus. He said if he could he would wear a rainbow everyday - but till things changed - he'd be wearing black. And I got his sentiment - I understood, and thought - I might lack joy - but its for the things that crush the spirit. But still - this world needs joy - needs life that lifts and builds up - and I need joy too. I'm gonna choose joy and love together - and the rest of the fruit that will fill my life to the full and be joy to those around me. I believe in it - I believe in the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Later that evening I looked out the window with my thoughts and for the fresh air - and I saw a young man sitting on the steps - he had a joyful little black dog playing tenderly with him. He was there spending time with the dog - loving it, and the little dog was loving it too! There is hope - and its these elements of love, joy, peace and all the rest that make a change to the things in life which would want to take away joy. So here's to Joy.

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