In Search of Joy & Wonder

By Ryan Dawson 

When was the last time you were filled with joy and wonder?  Sometimes joy can feel elusive in our push and pull world, where we often allow ourselves to be held hostage by our circumstances.  Instead of being filled with a sense of wellbeing and peace, we can be overcome with doubt, fear, and worry.  Wonder, born of awe and hope, can be supplanted by the numbness caused by routine and the unrelenting pace of life.  We can lose sight of the wonder of life as we race through our weeks.  It’s easy to slide into this trap and before you know it, joy and wonder can become distant memories.  But it doesn’t have to be this way because Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness, and this includes joy and wonder.  

I was reading the section in Luke 24 where Jesus appears to his disciples after the crucifixion.  Many of the disciples were gathered together and at this moment they were talking about Jesus when suddenly… Jesus himself was standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched. Luke 24:36-43.

It is a major understatement to say that these disciples had been through the fire of trials and testing.  Their leader had been brutally tortured and killed and by extension they were now branded as insurrectionists by the Romans and blasphemers by the Jewish religious leaders.  All of their hopes and dreams for a new kingdom, rooted in righteousness and justice, and ushered in by the Messiah were now dashed.  These disciples were confused, frightened, and full of despair but then Jesus stands in their midst and something changes.  

But notice, it is not their circumstances that change, it is their perspective on these circumstances that is transformed.  Because of the personal presence of the risen Christ, the One who bears the scars of sacrifice and atonement, these disciples were filled with joy and wonder.  David writes in Psalm  16:11 (ESV)…  “You make known to me the path of life;  in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  

The personal presence of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour, changes things!  

When was the last time you experienced the joy and wonder in the very presence of Jesus?  Regardless of how bleak your circumstances may appear, the doubts you have, the challenges you face in life, or your boredom with the mundane, Jesus is with you and He wants you to turn to Him and experience the joy and wonder found in a relationship with Christ.  

As we begin the Advent season I want to encourage you in the next few days to find a quiet place and sit with Jesus until you sense His joy and wonder in meaningful ways.   Armed with this fresh perspective and the presence of Jesus, you will then be able to better engage the issues of life and enjoy the journey.  

For Christ and Kingdom, Ryan