A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Joy: God's Magnet

Years ago, as I was newly blossoming in my faith, I was nurtured by a special group of women. We met bi-weekly, and there was something about the chemistry in this group that allowed us to speak with great honesty and vulnerability. We sought the Lord together and studied His word, as well as praying freely over each other, with hands joined and hearts lifted. We met faithfully for a few years, but one summer, in a matter of weeks, it all dissolved, as something only explained as the Lord’s will. It wasn’t out of anger or conflict or anything other than simply that most of us were being led into a different stage of life of some sort, and the rest of us simply were unable to get the timing right in order to come together. In short, we were being called to move past the incubation period our group had provided for each other. It’s been a few years now since this happened, and while we’ll still see each other now and then on an individual basis, the group that we were just never reformed.

Last week, due to a spontaneous notion by one of these women, we were all able to be together again for a couple of hours; the scheduling just worked. It is rare for a group who hasn’t been regularly interacting for a long time to just be able to pick up where they left off as if no time or season had passed, but we did, and it was precious. When I reflected later that day as to what it was we all experienced together, I realized it was joy.

Joy is strength in its rawest form. Its substance can withstand any devastating attack that might occur. The joy of the Lord serves as a magnet placed inside the heart that causes whatever is being lured out of its rightful place due to the devastation one is enduring to instead be drawn to the magnet as if it were an anchor holding a flailing ship steady in the course of a terrifying storm. We tend to substitute happiness and joy for each other as if they were synonyms, but they are not. Happiness is about life being what we want it to be at any given moment. Joy, the richest of spiritual sweetness, has its roots in eternity. Our disposition in such moments we might describe as “joyful” has to do with whether we are choosing to acknowledge the presence of eternity deposited within us (Eccl 3:11), and embracing that, as followers of Jesus, we have the promise of inclusion in that eternity.

What happened with our group the other day was a lot of laughter and sharing and reminiscing, which were all fun and what we would label as “joyful”, but we had all of those things for a much deeper reason. This group, together, had shared in the unifying victory of having the presence of eternity within us, and because of that, spiritual sweetness again flowed around us as we sat together; the sweetness, the strength – the joy – of knowing that we are bound together for eternity in Christ. For the magnet that holds us each to Him is the same magnet that holds us together spiritually, even though we may each have moved on to new phases of life. That cherished day last week, we embraced our united inclusion in eternity, hearts magnetized by the sheer power that is our joy in the Lord.

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