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Back to the Garden
Joy is our inheritance. Consider for a moment – how filled with joy are you? 

Adulthood is a systematic process of unlearning joy.” My guest’s reflection was painfully poignant as he sat in the makeup chair at 100 Huntley Street in our original downtown Toronto location. The truth of Gilbert Beers’ words has stayed with me for over two decades.

Children miss nothing in sizing up their parents…

A former editor of Christianity Today magazine, Gil had made a dramatic career shift to direct his godly wisdom and creative writing toward children. He was passionate about establishing a strong foundation in young lives, and already had more than 300 children’s books to his credit. The Toddler’s Bible was a favourite in my home and a proven source of joy-filled reading for my preschoolers Katherine and Davy.

In Isaiah 65:14, the Lord says, “My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts….” Has your heart sprung a leak? Knowing that “the joy of the Lord is your strength,” you can be sure that the enemy of your soul is eager to rob you of this vital necessity for abundant living. It doesn’t help that only 32 percent of born-again Christians believe in the existence of absolute truth and six out of ten adults don’t believe the Bible is accurate. No wonder children today are biblically illiterate and separated from the source of “inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Renowned child psychologist Dr. James Dobson gives this warning: “Children miss nothing in sizing up their parents. If you are only half convinced of your beliefs, they will quickly discern that fact.”

A few years ago, the Full Circle girls from the 100 Huntley Street program led a bus trip to the Millennium Theater in Pennsylvania to see In The Beginning. The breathtaking production brought the Genesis account to life. Adam frolicked in the Garden of Eden with such childlike joy, delighting in the Lord’s company as they laughed and explored the beautiful creation together. The reality of what was lost one fateful day when His children chose to disobey was devastating.

Joni Mitchell’s memorable song lyrics from the ’60s were playing in my mind… “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden” (Lyrics from the song, Woodstock, by Joni Mitchell).

Indeed our souls are sighing for Eden, but until Paradise is restored, we have to appropriate, model and declare the blessings of kingdom living now!

Our King is eager to share every moment of our daily lives with us! When joy-stealers empty your tank, do you know where to go for a refill? The Apostle Paul shared his source of strength while imprisoned in chains. It’s a power tool we can’t live without: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”

I admit that these are difficult days, filled with uncertainty. Habakkuk’s self-talk was full of God-confidence in the midst of desperate circumstances.

The Message translation is surprisingly refreshing: “Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Saviour God. Counting on God’s rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

Joy – a fruit of the spirit, a spiritual discipline, your inheritance as a child of God, everlasting and always age appropriate.

May it be your strength today!

Moira Brown is a host of Crossroads Christian Communications 100 Huntley Street program.

Originally published in Crossroads Compass, August, 2009.

 

 
 
 
 

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