“Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God.” – Sam Storms
As I have watched the Olympic games over the past couple of weeks, something that made me smile each time I saw it was the embracing of the athletes after their particular race or event was over with huge grins on their faces, hugging and jumping up and down in celebration with one another in complete exhilaration.
Even though they may have suffered a difficult personal loss of their own hard fought-for dream, they congratulated their fellow opponents that did come out on top in huge expressive outbursts. This was so wonderful to witness!
One Italian athlete in particular came so spontaneously unhinged in his happiness that he leapt up onto his fellow competitors' body, hugging him with his legs and his arms! The man on the receiving end of this surprising display of excitement was from the country of Qatar. The commentator then said excitedly:
"Well, folks, joy needs no translation!"
The Olympics has a special character trait that often ushers in this sort of precious combustion between people of completely different languages and continents. In a time when the planet seems more fractured and filled with more division than ever before, we all get to be a part of something great and healing together for a couple of weeks and feel the love.
Even we, the mere sofa-bound spectators, are invited to be a part of the moments of intense emotions right through our television screens and brought into the inner circle of exhilaration. We all cheer them on together and collectively virtual-hug, like we are attending a big, fabulous, world-wide family reunion.
This is such a bright thread in the cloth of life; the way we can bond even when we do not speak the same language and are from completely different ends of the world. Two faces beaming in joy always fills in the great divide and ushers in the spirit of the Divine. Yes, God certainly springs forth in our joy - He can't help it - our joy is His personal portal opened wide and He gladly busts through the door to join the party.
God is joy, joy is from God, and when we are in His good company it is always present:
"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever." – (Psalm 16:11)
Tonight, the Olympic torch's blazing flame will be extinguished yet again. Hopefully we can each hold onto its' warmth and glow and remember the beautiful language lesson that the gracious athletes taught us without having to say a word; that when we are joyful with and for one another, we all win. And, God speaks through us when we do.
And, that is pure gold.
Question: How will you go forth in the joy of the Lord and give some of it to others today?