We are studying on Sunday morning at Emmanuel a series entitled 'SoulTalk,' based on Larry Crabb's bestselling novel of the same title. One of the premises of the series is that life is all about knowing and enjoying God. The soul finds itself in trouble when secondary things crowd out what should be the primary passion of the joy of knowing God. The series has been an interesting one with fascinating comments from the congregation after listening to the message. One such comment came from a person yesterday who wondered aloud to me "I'm not sure what it feels like to enjoy God."
I appreciated the honest transparency of such a remark and it got me to wondering about how best to illustrate the kind of joy we are talking about when it comes to God. Rachelle and I were at the Oklahoma High School Basketball State Championships at the Big House on Saturday at the Fair Grounds in Oklahoma City and we saw firsthand the joy of players and coaches who won the long sought after 'Gold Ball' of a state championship. I remember as a seven year old boy watching Bob Beamon break the world long jump record by nearly TWO feet at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and the incredibly joy that came over Beamon when he discovered what he had done. The video of what some have called the greatest track and field feat in the history of the world contains the images of Beamon collapsing in a seizure of pure joy.
Most of the rapturous moments of joy with which we are familiar come from the sports arena. I can, however, attest to the fact that there are moments in my life when I feel overcome with pure joy over God. There have been songs sung, messages preached, prayers offered - both in corporate worship and in private worship - when I have been felt intense joy in communion with God and meditation upon His work on my behalf. Jonathan Edwards, James Harvey, Augustus Toplady, and other writers of past centuries would often write of their rapturous joy as they contemplated these things as well. It does seem, however, that the soul's enjoyment of God above all else is becoming either a lost subject upon which preachers expound or a lost art upon which believers rely.
Sometimes I wonder if most of the solutions for the problems we face could be found in the deep and abiding joy of simply knowing God. Life does not always 'work out.' Solutions are not always found to prevent painful problems from arising. But the rapturous joy of knowing God and experiencing intimate, personal communion with Him helps us keep secondary things where they should belong.
In His Grace,