• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Infect The World

The professor asked the students to inflate a balloon, write their name on it and throw it in the hallway. The professor then mixed all the balloons. The students were given 5 minutes to find their own balloon. Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon. At that point the professor told the students to take the first balloon that they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it. Within 5 minutes everyone had their own balloon. The professor said to the students: 'These balloons are like happiness. We will never find it if everyone is looking for their own. But if we care about other people's happiness...we'll find ours too.

I don't care about happiness as much as joy. Happiness is fleeting. For me, joy is an all-knowing that God is in control. James 1: 2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." The Bible doesn't just say we can have joy during trials but it actually tells us to be joyful during trials. I had never thought about that before.

I recently found this in something I wrote the week after my dad died. "This week someone saw me crying and said, "he is in a better place." Someone else asked me if I would ever have joy again since my Dad had died. It is the total opposite. "Praise be to God...of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles." 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 I have so much joy right now but remember joy is an all knowing...not a state of happiness......I feel like I have fallen in love with God all over again. I can only compare it to the overwhelming love I felt from God at a spiritual retreat weekend, The Walk to Emmaus in 2006. But that was a mountain top and now I am in a valley. I see where He took care of our family preparing us for this time. He directed Mom and Dad with so many things including their move during a time when their house should not have sold. In doing that He also took care of His own letting the realtors be people we knew through church. He gave Dad, Mom and I his last "normal" day at the ocean - all day. He gave Dad and I the perfect ocean for swimming that day!"

I know watching God's faithfulness through my life had helped me trust God during this time. I think about Job, in the Bible. Job lost his family, his health, his career and everything he had worked for. He still praised God. Job 1: 21, " and said: 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.'" Wow! That would be tough. There are many others in the Bible who went through tough times and still praised God. Their perseverance made their faith stronger. We need to infect this world with joy!

In this world of tough times, how do people see us? I like the question we were asked at revival the other night. If people saw you after this past year and a half would they believe God is on the throne or would they believe that He has abandoned you?


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