A Dizzying Delight in Jesus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

“Faster! Faster!”

Girlish shrieks fill the still September evening. Flashes of hard yellow were mingled with flowing, soft colors. The division of earth and sky was lost. All was one.

“Open your eyes, Rach! Look at the clouds!”

“I can’t! I’m too dizzy!”

Sputters of conversation blurred with the motion. Laughter flowed from the deepest places and splatters of wind and joy-filled moisture slipped from corner eye tents.

That. That is what I desire for all of us in our relationships with Jesus. Pure joy. That our great delight in Jesus would move us to unashamedly rejoice in Him. That we would be undone in His presence and unable to gaze upon His face, without crying out, “It’s too much! Jesus, You are too much! Your glory is so beautiful. Your majesty and brilliance is blinding in the best of ways.”

I long for the overflowing joy of Christ to bubble over in our souls and spill out of our very lives like thawing spring creeks dancing with delight upon still stones. Inexpressible, uncontainable, irresistible joy in King Jesus (1 Peter 1:8).

But also that the total otherness of God would move us to say with Isaiah, “Woe is me! For I am lost….for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). And to be so overwhelmingly consumed with our Savior King being in our midst and doing His miracles in our very lives, that we would, like Peter, realize our utter unworthiness to be in His holy presence and simply fall at His feet (Luke 5:8).

And oh, to be so certain of the hope, love, and future found in Him, that we would boldly and relentlessly proclaim the excellencies of Christ (1 Peter 2:9)! That we would be anchored to something greater than us—something Jesus. That this strong, sure, unchanging anchor would give our souls, our lives, our words wings (Hebrews 6:19-20).

That all of this and so much more would lead us to greater praise of Jesus. That He—and He alone—would be the greatest gift. That our delight would be in Him. Oh to have eyes to see and love Him for who He is, and not to view him as a means to an end or as some kind of “divine baker” (Matthew Westerholm).

There is enough wonder in Christ to satisfy us for a thousand eternities. There is enough joy in Jesus to keep us smiling forever. And there is certainly enough love to be found in Him to make every other relationship appear anemic and starved compared to being in relationship with Him.

And that’s precisely what I long for, for every follower of Christ. That we would be overcome with joy in Him. That He would elicit shouts of joy from us, that tears of immense happiness would flow from our eyes, and we would be fairly dizzy at the mere mention of His name.

The blur of hard yellow and muted colors break apart. Earth and sky split into two. Wind stills. The merry-go-round stops.

But our smiles go on and on and on.

 

The In Between

In-between. What do you think of when you hear that word?

For me, this word is heavy with claustrophobia, tight spaces, and the cream between sandwich cookies—squished. It’s the painful squeeze of being in a place you don’t want to be in. That middle airplane seat, center couch cushion, or being smack-dab in the middle of a line of people taller than you.

Seriously, life doesn’t happen in these stuffy places of waiting. Or does it? Jeff Goins, in his book titled The In-Between, argues, that yes indeed, life does happen in the spaces of in between. That the majority of our lives are not defined by the big moments—the book ends of life—but rather, the deepest, most meaningful aspects of our lives are hidden in the spaces in the middle. The ordinary, mundane, uneventful.

For much of my life, I have longed for the next big thing. Those things that are all it. Sadly, the things I thought would be the next big thing, simply left me hungry for the next defining moment. I would even be willing to say that God has rarely spoken magnificent things to me, while I am wrapped up in the great event of the time. It was in the in between moments on a beach in El Golfo that the silence of God spoke louder than if He’d shouted over the noise of the waves.

Looking back, the greatest moments of my life have not happened when I was doing that amazingly awesome thing. I learned about forgiveness and bitterness on a long, hot, tiring boat ride down the Irrawaddy River. Another great moment happened in the Atlanta airport at midnight. Some of the best conversations of my life have taken place in the kitchen at work. In the silence, in the waiting, in the longing, Jesus speaks.

Sadly, most of my adult years have been spent waiting to arrive, longing to be somewhere else, and pacing for something worth my life. But, if I would just take the time to review my life, I would see that many of my favorite memories, treasured relationships, and heart-breaking photographs occurred in the long seasons of in between. Where would I be—who would I be—without these gap moments, months, years?

It is in the places of waiting to arrive, waiting for the clock to finally reach that certain time, or waiting to do something important, that God has spoken.

All of life is a giant in-between. Cradled in between the day we each took our first shaky, crying breath and the day we take our last breath and fall into the arms of eternity, is an in between.

What if the in between wasn’t viewed as stuffy, squishy nastiness? What if we could see it as a chance to slow-down, breathe, and wait on God? What if we could see a hammock between the two giant trees? And not just an empty chasm.

What if this summer could be lived to the fullest—overflowing in beauty, sweetness, and Jesus? What if we took the time to really, truly live? Smell the lilacs, drink sweet tea, take photos of baby birds, watch the water striders dancing on the lake, breathe in the smells of bonfires, and relish the sound of laughter on porches? What if we lived on purpose in the in between…without sacrificing the beauty all around us?

Trusting that Jesus has our very lives—and seasons of in between—in His hands, we can fearlessly and joyfully live in the moments He’s given us, filling the very spaces with beauty, hope, and life itself.