February 13, 2010

To Live is Christ — overflowing with joy

As a Canadian, we watched the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics with national pride. Vancouver’s Olympic team did a great job.

This year, I felt more connected to the athletes, not because I’ve taken up a sport but because of the looks on their faces when they paraded into the venue. Last summer, I was in a parade also. It was at the Gathering in Scotland where clan members marched High Street from Holyrood Park to Edinburgh Castle. Thousands lined the streets cheering for everyone, especially their own clan as it passed.

There was an incredible feel about this. It was not personal; not one of those people knew my name. It was bigger than that, a sense of belonging and togetherness. We were family, tied together by more than a name. I will never forget how I felt that day.

As I watched the faces of the athletes, I knew how they felt, even felt how they felt. For some, the Olympics might be personal, but for most, there is a bigger picture, that sense of representing something more than yourself. Few could resist being swept away by the largeness of what was happening.

This morning I’m still thinking about that, and as I read the verse for today, I’m warmed in my heart again. This verse is personal, but also not personal. It is about God and me, but it is more about the largeness of God and how He gives deep delight to the hearts of His people. 

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me — a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
If I needed a parade every day to keep my heart overflowing with joy, I would be a sad person most of the time. However, I am not sad because my source of joy is God and His lovingkindness. He takes care of me. Yes, there are difficult times, but that joy is like an artesian spring; it bubbles up no matter what happens.

For example, sometimes I wake in the morning and my mind is full of a hymn or a praise chorus. My heart is singing. How does that happen? There is no time to think about it, to decide that I am going to sing. The melody and the words are just there, bubbling up and overflowing.

The joy of the Olympics may have a more lasting effect than other happy occasions because it is bigger than mere competition and medals. It is based on values and ideals that are larger than individuals and larger than even the event itself.

Yet the joy of the Lord lasts even longer — but for the same reasons. It is bigger than good times and winning battles because it is based on the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who is grander than anything that can happen. I cannot help but be swept away by the largeness of my God and Savior. My joy lasts because He lives in my heart and it is His joy, not my circumstances and often not even my choice.

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