Surprised By Joy

We had NO clue that it would happen that evening.  We’d gathered together as a family to celebrate my mother’s birthday.  Ashley was pregnant and we were all excited about Laney’s birth in a few weeks.  There was tons of food (which we ate too much of) and we laughed all night as we told stories and ate cake.  Then…it happened.  Ashley called me (she was staying at my parents to be closer to work since we’d been in Gainesville so late).  It was 1am and Laney was coming!  The events that unfolded over the next 48 hours were the most incredible moments of my life.  What a blessing to be a part of life entering into this world!  We cried and laughed and squeezed each other so tight.  There was enough joy for a lifetime, all in a few moments.  Happy Birthday, Greta—Happy Birthday, Laney!


26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. —John 14


1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. —Acts 2

The disciples were gathered together, just as Jesus had asked.  They were praying, knowing that soon the Holy Spirit would come as Jesus had promised and guide them the rest of their days.  It was a sure thing, but when?  Then, the Holy Spirit rushed in, fell upon them, filling their hearts and moving them out of that room and into the world to proclaim the Good News.  They were surprised by joy.  This was the birthday of the Church and what a wonderful surprise.  Happy Birthday, Church!

A life lived with God will provide moments where we are surprised by joy.  There are “God Moments” (thank you, Rev. Mike Pinson) in our lives, when things happen —whether we are ready or not—that take us to a new place in our relationship with God and others.  Our response is to receive the joy, to be open to it at any and every moment.  Each of us are to spend our spiritual lives being “ready” to receive.  We do the work of God—fulfilling God’s will and carrying out the mission of Christ.  And sometimes, in the midst of our work, there’s a heavenly joy that surprises us right where we are.  “God into all the world…” and do the work that Christ has commanded and you will be surprised by joy!

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