Joyful Experiences

August 11, 2014

Currently listening to: Brian and Jenn Johnson—A Little Longer

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” –John 10:9-10

Joyful experiences.

The past 10 weeks have been ten of the most experiential weeks of my life. Just to name a few, the past 10 weeks I’ve: zip-lined through the rainforests of Ketchikan, Alaska; admired humpback whales in Juneau, ridden a helicopter over Skagway, to then land and hike the Meade glacier—one of Alaska’s largest glaciers. I’ve camped out in the jungles of Peru—played with monkeys, hugged sloths; took a joyride through the Amazon River on a wooden boat. I’ve hiked through the majestic Redwood Forest in Arcata, California and roamed the hipster streets of Portland, Oregon. I’ve sat at the base of the Baiguate waterfall, and ridden horses through the mountains and rivers of the Dominican Republic.

My gratefulness has been apparent throughout the past 2 and a half months. Most of what I’ve done, most people don’t get to do in a lifetime. As I rode on my Dominican horse, Lucenda, on the side of the Rio de Baiguate, I looked at my new Dominican friend, Alexander, and asked “Is this a dream, or reality?” He answered, “It’s a dream that’s become a reality, my friend.” My immediate response was “why? I don’t deserve it.” Alexander didn’t have that answer, but I know God did. It was repetitive in my thoughts—“why, God? Why have you given me the opportunity to experience so much life? ” My mind started racing back to the moments in Alaska, the laughter, the joy. I thought about the monkeys in Peru, the hikes in California. A sudden guilt came over me—“I don’t deserve it.” I’m well aware of how profound God is, and I know none of what He does or allows is surface-level. Yea, maybe He’s wanted to bless me just to merely bless me, but I desire to go deeper than that. “There has to be a reason, doesn’t there, God?”

I stopped asking for a moment and I sat. I soaked in the scenery around me, and tried to listen.

“Because I want you to adore me” –I felt Him whisper inside of me.

A few days prior to this moment, I had pressed into John Piper’s idea of Christian Hedonism: God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him. I had been meditating on my joy and Christ’s exaltation. God shines brighter in my life contingent on my happiness in Him. This idea came full circle, and hit me like a ton of bricks in the middle of DR, straddling a new four-legged friend.

“I want your love for me to overflow like that waterfall you just enjoyed. I want your joy to be complete.”

Jesus, you’re beautiful.

He is most glorified when I am praising Him. He is most glorified when I can’t contain my affections for Him. He is exalted in my joy. My adoration for Jesus grows utterly deeper in these moments. So much so, that I can’t stay silent. Like the Samaritan woman at the well that left her jar and ran to tell the entire town about Jesus. Her response was automatic. She left her things and ran. She did so because she was in awe of Him.

Dear saints, seek those moments. Watch a sunrise on the beach, listen to the waves crash against the shore—and praise him. Sit alone, enjoy your favorite meal—and praise him. Stand on a bridge, admire the skyline—and praise him. Sit under a tree, feel the wind blow through your hair, feel the sun burn against your skin—and praise him.

And then, like the Samaritan woman, go and tell everyone about Him.