I recently had dinner with a couple that is really dear to me. They are like parents, and I was like their daughter. It has been more than two years since we last saw each other, and more than that since we had quality conversation and time together. Over the years, communication would just be through Facebook, or SMS, saying “Hello! I miss you.” There would also be the occasional exchange of prayer items. Finally, the much awaited reunion was set.
I was excited and I anticipated a good time. The day came–I just enjoyed the night, savouring each moment. Finally, as I lay in bed that night, I was still smiling, thankful that there was time spent together. And until now, the memory of that wonderful night brings out my biggest smile and leaps of joy in my heart.
As I replay the night in my head, I was reminded of what Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11). It was the discourse about the vine and the branches, about abiding in Jesus.
If time shared with this couple brought me great joy, wouldn’t spending time with my heavenly Father bring greater joy? If the food that we ate nourished me physically, wouldn’t feeding on His Word nourish me spiritually? And wouldn’t it be even greater that with Him, there are no physical limitations so I can spend quality time with Him anytime, anywhere?
That night, I was grateful for the opportunity God gave me to reunite with this couple. However, I later on realized that it was beyond my relationship with this couple. God wants to reveal this parallel. He reminded me that He is my Father, and my relationship with Jesus will bring His joy in my life. It was an answer to a prayer I’ve been praying: to teach me how to be more courageous.
What’s the connection of being joyful and being courageous? I was surprised when I first saw the connection. In John 16:33, Jesus’ last line was “Take courage, I have overcome the world.” To gain a better understanding of the verse, I read it in different Bible versions. NIV and NCV translate the phrase “take courage” as “take heart.” I also looked at KJV and this phrase was translated as “be of good cheer.” “Be of good cheer as take courage?” I thought. So, I searched where else the original Greek word (tharseō) was used, and consistently, the KJV translated it as either “be of good cheer,” or “be of good comfort.”
In all eight occurrences of the word, the situation went from being filled with fear and desperation to victory (Mt 9:2,22; 14:27; Mk 6:50; 10:49; Lk 8:48; Jn 16:33; Ac 23:11).
Our cheerfulness is Christ’s joy coming from the inside out. Ten verses back, Jesus promised that no one can take away our joy (John 16:22). Therefore, the bottom line is our intimacy with God. As we walk with Him, we become more intimate. We learn from Him, we receive much of His grace which nourish us, which will eventually allow us to bear much fruit (including joy!).
Relationships are important. But in the end, we (I) must not forget the most important relationship that we (I) have–that with Jesus Christ–our (my) Savior, and our (my) Lord. ♥