Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Ambushing Joy of No Cosmic Carnival Bell

Photo: Thomas Totz, Creative Commons cc license
Banana muffins sheen from melted butter and I'm on my fourth one. Hot from the oven, they steam when opened and glisten moist on a hot muggy May afternoon. A friend has just left, our tea cups and dishes still line the counter.

This afternoon, listening to my niece wash dishes behind me and my youngest play Legos before me, I scribbled lines in my journal and pulled my Bible closer to me on the kitchen table. A glossy plastic-covered map beneath my books showed me the Middle East and Asia, but all the verses I read pointed in towards me.

Reading of another one's healing, some verses hit me about my own life. I switched some pronouns and read, "By faith in the name of Jesus, this [woman] whom you see and know was made strong!" The next line continued, "It is Jesus's name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to [her], as you can all see."

I've been marking time, paying attention to date markers to track how God is healing areas in my life. Head and heart wounds, traps of thinking that have wrapped and twisted me some days have been slowly unwinding. Days following days of retraining my mind, of rejecting the lies we can all too easily whisper to ourselves and believe. Month slipping after quiet month, and most traces have all but disappeared.

It surprises me now, how thoroughly joy crept in. Healing, hope, and peace have ambushed us, and we are no longer the same.

And the humbling shrug-the-shoulders, can-take-no-credit-for-it-part? It's cryptically there in Acts 3:16, "It is Jesus's name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing." The result is never truly about how much faith we can muster up. The result is not about rallying enough faith to ring some cosmic carnival bell, signaling Enough. The God-Man kindly, gently hands down the faith to us, giving us what we need to believe. And He... He is enough.

It surprises me now, how thoroughly joy crept in. And for you, my friend? He is enough for you too, whatever your story, your calendar marks, your wonders. He is enough, and he is handing down faith for you too.

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Bill (cycleguy) said...

I think a lot of what we experience is of the "creeping" kind. Very seldom does it seem (to me and for me at least)that God blows me away with this magnificent revelation of goodness. It is most often the subtle kind, the creeping kind. I sometimes if that is how God works more often than the "rip your head off with a blow away revelation' kind. :)

Floyd said...

Good one. It's funny how we can't see the change, but as surely as the sun comes up by His sovereign hand, so does our hearts and lives change when we seek Him. Warming post, Jennifer.

Lisa notes... said...

Ultimately it's never about us, is it? It's about Him. And He is always enough. So thankful for this reminder today, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing how joy has crept in.

Jennifer Dougan said...


And I am so thankful for that. Whew. :)

Nice to talk with you,
Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...


The subtle, creeping kind... yes, I agree. And it's so easy for me to miss, if I'm not careful.

Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, Floyd.

Jennifer Dougan