Not on my Watch!
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” Ps. 28:7
I love to laugh, except when milk comes out of my nose. Come on, admit it…you can’t help but smile at that mental image. It’s good to laugh…for the right reasons, even if milk does come out our nose. Even so, we all know that laughter and joy isn’t always the same thing, is it?
Chuck Swindoll, author of Laugh Again, got it right when he said, “I know of no greater need today than the need for joy. Unexplainable, contagious joy. Outrageous joy.” Notice, he didn’t say laughter was the greatest need. He said joy.
What’s the difference? The difference is the well being of the heart. When the deepest longings of the heart are fully satisfied, there is joy, even when it’s hard to laugh. There is only one source of such satisfied longings—an intimate relationship with the One who made us in His image.
Today’s popular songs, TV shows, movies, and news stories abound with themes of fear, violence, sex, tragedy and unhappiness. An accurate perspective of life, with all the good and the bad, is important. However, an obsession with the evil things of life robs us of a genuine spirit of joy, and the ability to both laugh and bear up joyfully. We need a good dose of contagious joy rooted in a greater reality.
Joy is the reality of living contented in God’s sovereignty. Joy comes in the morning as we learn to live by faith. Faith is unshakable in it conviction that God delights in giving good gifts to His children. Hearts that leap for joy do so only because of a confidence that God is not only looking down on us, but is very much present with us. Joy is birthed in the shalom of God’s lavish grace. When we grasp how His favor rests upon us simply because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, no one can take away our joy.
Grandparents, we have journeyed enough to know the value of leaving a legacy of joy and laughter for the next generation. Who better to model trust in Him who is the Source of a joyful heart—the Object of our joyful praise. Only a joyful heart can truly laugh both on the inside and the outside. May God grant us the ability to help cultivate a contagious, outrageous joy in the hearts of our children and grandchildren.
Here’s a suggestion. Try singing with your grandchildren at home, when riding in the car, while working on a project, and even while talking on the phone. Learn new songs and teach them old songs that express the joy of the Lord. And don’t forget to mix in a good dose of laughter, even if milk comes out your nose!
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