So. Sometimes you're going along, living your life, and all of a sudden you just have to stop and squeal, "Jesus! You're so GOOOOOOOD!" It's pretty imperative that you do this a higher-than- normal-pitched voice.
When you start to see the redemption you've begged for, longed for, wept for, and finally given up on, you can't help but rejoice.
I never thought about that word before. You could say it means "joy again." And the joy is a verb. Do joy again. Feel joy again. Enter into joy again.
That's what it is...I feel I'm entering joy again after so long. Walking in a daily joy that I'd forgotten.
Wait - there's been so much pain. It's been so long. I should be cautious. Hope is a set-up for disappointment. Flying means there's further to fall.
But REjoice? Do it again? He's too good not to. Maybe I should be cautious after so long, so many let-downs. Maybe I should be very cautious and wise and put a crazy lock-down on expectations and perspectives.
But I can't not rejoice.
I remember this, now that I'm thinking in terms of "again": I remember the last time God set me free in a monumental way in my life. I walked in so much joy after that. So much freedom. I kind of flew. And if part of the pain this last time was wondering what happened to that first joy, that first freedom...how much greater will be whatever He's building now?
I can't see it all yet, I don't think this particular season is finished yet. But I can see a tiny glimpse. Like even all I hoped and wished and prayed for and finally gave up on has reappeared, but even though I did wish and hope and pray for it it's somehow so much bigger. So much grander. So much richer than that I remember imagining. Like it's at my eye-level and I can only see the corner of it because it's so much bigger than me and stretches away beyond the horizon.
2 Cor 10:9 says "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" It feels like a strange paradox, because I certainly thought I could conceive of many very beautiful things, and even what redemption might look like. And yet now, even if some of those things may be reappearing, I feel the verse is true. (It's true whether I think it is or not, just like gravity still works whether or not I think I can jump off a bridge, but so much of our genuine faith has to do with realizing in a deep way that God is true, and aligning ourselves with that so it's part of our lives and not just part of the stuff we spout because we're supposed to.) Even though I thought I could imagine all I wanted, all God could do if He would just give me what I asked for....this is better. This is more.
Don't ask me for details. I still don't know what all of this was about. Oh, I know some of it, I have my glimpses. But the best part is just to see Him. Just to have heard His voice like never before, and to know that He never once was unkind to me, was always tender and gentle. Just to see that He is so faithful, that He was most faithful when I doubted His goodness the most. Just to see that He really is good, that He really does mean good toward me.
There are tremendous theological questions and incredible struggles of faith that have to do with the question of why He lets these things happen, how can they be so long and so terrible, and what kind of Almighty God could allow so much pain and still be called good.
I only know that now, seeing Him, hearing Him...it changes everything.