I’m sure you have had one of those weeks where not a whole lot goes right. You make a few mistakes, the nagging list of chores is overwhelming, or you haven’t started doing that growing list of Christmas ‘to-dos’. Perhaps your workload has increased due to circumstances beyond your control, a few unexpected bills have come in, the car is making a funning noise, the Christmas lights outside aren’t working properly, you snapped at a few people, or it feels like everyone is driving purposefully slow. Joy seems like a fleeting thought or far from reach. Ever have a week like that?
Well, this has been my week. Though I did finally have a peaceful time putting up my outside Christmas lights, I walked outside and noticed one section was out. I just had to let out a cry of exasperation when I noticed my neighbors perfect lights. I have to be honest; I was not feeling the joy at all. And to make more of a point, I have been studying for this Sunday’s sermon entitled “Reach Joy,” but joy felt out of reach I was getting a little concerned until my ‘cup of joy’ helped me reach joy once again.
Cup of Joy!?! Perhaps your wondering if I mean my favorite drink of peppermint hot chocolate (nonfat hold the whip please)? Yep that’s the one. I know that does not sound very spiritual, but God used this cup of joy to bring joy. Let me explain.
I was at a very low, joyless point looking at all the ways things that did not work out and wondering why the events of the past few days were not going my way. I was in a “head-down-just-plow-through-it” mode when my loving and insightful wife said to take a break and so we went to Starbucks. Kristi wanted to order for me and said, “Two cups of joy please.” The guy behind the counter had a confused look on his face said, “Ummm, what was that again?” I think I jumped in and said, “Oh, a cup of joy.” He again looked confused and then I said, “Well, it’s a peppermint hot chocolate but I call it a cup of joy because it”…and that’s when a little conversation happened in my head. It seemed to go on for a few minutes, but really happened in a flash. It was the Lord saying…
“Yeah, Mike, why do you call it a cup of joy? You know it’s not the taste (though it is a heavenly combination). You have said it’s called a cup of joy because it brings back joyful memories and thoughts of Me and how much I love you and have blessed you. I know this has been a tough week for you. Not a surprise to Me, but I feel with you and love you more then you could imagine right now. Let’s talk more about this. I have a cup of real joy waiting…”
I blinked a few times, laughed, and said to the guy being the register, “Yeah cup of joy because it brings me joy.” I laughed again a little embarrassed and asked for a peppermint hot chocolate.
I was a little quite as we drove home and, as I began doing a project at the house, I started to think back over the week. Yes, a lot of annoying things happened, but so did some great things. I had great affirming conversations with some young men whom I have mentored, and the Lord blessed us with some wonderful, unexpected gifts. The church also received a large, unexpected gift! I can see that the Lord is blessing Cypress Church because we are growing as a church and branching out which increases the reach of our ministry. God has blessed me with a phenomenal wife and a fun and growing family. I love my job, I have great friends, and besides all that God really, really loves me. His word says so and He displayed it through the gift of His Son whom we joyously celebrate this time of year. I reached for my cup of joy and smiled, set it down, and drank in the real cup of joy.
I’m going to talk about the “Reach of Joy” on Sunday, but I wanted you to hear of a little of my journey this past week. I hope you can find and drink in your cup of joy. Oh and that section of lights that was out for a few days…in a grumpy joyless state I said a half-hearted prayer asking the Lord if He would just fix them. Guess what? They are all on now. It’s a Christmas miracle!! (I know it’s just lights, but it brought me joy).
Reaching for Joy with you,