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Jun 7, 2010

Inexpressible and glorious JOY

One thing that I learned in Africa is how to be joyful, whether it be in worship or just in life in general.  The entire church building shakes with the dancing that is going on within during times of worship.  I loved standing still and looking around and taking it all in and even more so, I loved being a part of it.  In a typical service, they have a time for "items" which can be anything from a testimony to a song to a dance.  One night, there was a hip-hop routine.  The next, a friend named Rejoice, although readily admitting he is not a singer, felt called to share a song.  There is no concern with appearances or worries about being not good enough to stand up in front of the congregation, but rather they embrace the verse in Psalm 100 that says, "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs."

At first, I didn't think I was as shaken as I expected to be from this experience, but when I think about things as simple as joy, I realize that I gained a huge insight.  I think about all the times I complain about little, dumb things.  All the times that I forget to be joyful at the life God has given me.  All the times I sulk or scowl or get down because things aren't going my way or life is tough.  Then I think about how I never heard a kid complain about the color balloon that they got or about how they didn't like the cherry dum-dum and can they please have a blue raspberry one instead.  Let alone complain that their sweater wasn't warm enough for temperatures in the forties or the fact that the only shoes they had were worn out plastic sandals.

The fact is that I'm blessed in so many ways, and so often, I take it for granted.  People keep asking me about what I learned from this trip and I haven't had a specific answer up until now, but I think one thing I learned and want to carry with me is how to be joyful in this lifetime.  I never want to be complacent or too comfortable that I fail to be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy at the life God has given me.  When I think about Africa, there is a part of me that is brokenhearted, but so much more is joyful at the ways God is moving there.

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