I can’t seem to shake the Biblical idea of “rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (I Peter 1:8 KJV) I’ve always been kind of a happy guy. It is a lot easier for me to put a smile on my face than to wear a frown! When I started hanging out with my future wife in high school we were two peas in a pod when it came to our dispositions. When I think back of the attributes that drew and kept me near Piper, it was that sassy smile on her face, her quick wit and the ability to turn almost anything into an encouraging word or moment. It was (and still is, I might add…) just plain fun to be with her!
The more I got to really know her though, I discovered that her joy wasn’t just an external expression but stemmed from a deeply set, personal, intimate experiential knowing of the love of Jesus Christ and a powerful expectation of His Word doing what He said it would do to those who believe! She was different than most people I knew… in many respects, she was even different from her family roots… and as I’ve stated before, whatever she had… I WANTED TOO!
Well, that joy has been a major part of who we became as a husband and wife team, as parents, as ministers and as members of our families as well as with friends. And you know… even as we deal with the effects of Alzheimer’s with Piper, I find that we are still called to carry on the example of “rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
I found out early on in this journey that we’ve been on for about seven plus years now, that the deeply set, personal, intimate experiential knowing of the love of Christ that Piper has… and I eventually nurtured inside of me, cannot stand to stand silent in the presence of the sadness, depression, hopelessness and defeat that I regularly see in the expressions of many of the folks we come into contact with on a daily basis.
There may be times when I am fighting some real emotions and pain when I look at the current results of the symptoms of this attack upon Piper, but you know… I suck it up and let that smile of the expectation of our faith in Jesus Christ and the truth of His Word burst through, because even though I may be hurting, I know that it is only temporary and that His truth with eventually prevail! In these situations it is almost like I can’t help myself! That “joy unspeakable” simply has to explode onto the scene and through it allow the expectation, joy, peace and love of Papa God immerse those who need it the most!
As Christians, you and I are to be living epistles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For my wife and I in our current situation, that epistle usually leads off with a smile, an encouraging word and a testimony of our faith in the possibilities of our God in the face of what medical science says is impossible. And time after time, almost without fail, our joy causes an almost immediate change in the attitude and expression of the other individual. You can almost see the light of hope begin to flicker deep within the recesses of their eyes!
So… what do you think? How strong is your confidence in the presence of that unspeakable joy inside of you? When things get hard, what emotion pops up from the depths of your being? How do you react when faced with the sadness of the world around you? Is it with Joy or do other reactions come to the surface? I like the idea of all that unspeakable joy bouncing around inside of me just waiting to pop to the surface when called upon to minister to me… or to the needs of others!
Like those TV commercials that end with the statements: “What’s in your wallet?” or “What’s in your safe?” I could ask a similar spiritual question that makes you to go deep and discover “What’s inside you heart?” Have a great rest of the week, and as you do keep asking yourself… “Do I expect to ‘rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’ when the tough situations of life happen to me today?”