Joy and acceptance–the humor of Grace

I know very little; my wife knows much more (that’s no joke!), but one thing i do know is that Jesus is indefatigable. He never gets exhausted. How is that? I think it has something to do with joy. This One who labours harder than all of us combined, somehow–staring at that joy set before Him, never just poops out and quits.

What of this joy set before Him? If joy-and particularly the one set before Jesus-is eternal, it is also unlosable (if that is a word). We cannot actually have joy stolen from us, as it seems we do in experience. Joy, God’s joy is eternal and inviolable. This joy somehow gives Jesus hope to never give up, and be overcome by the exhaustion of His endless labours. Something He sees and knows, some Joy.

I don’t hear much of joy. Such a short word even in french–joie; but so much punch and energy it offers. The great phycholigist Victor Frankel held out joy as the primary motivation which kept those who endured the holocaust going. They held to some image of joy–something that they cherished, and in this clinging, hope stayed chiming deep within them. Joy ushers in hope–holding onto this hope that we will see His face…

But joy does something else as well-it causes us to feel accepted fully in the depths of our being. When we feel God’s joy over us, we suddenly feel entirely accepted–engulfed in His full validation of ourselves–completely welcomed. From that place of self acceptance, we are able to work on our own shortcomings, or areas we need to allow Him to transform us in. But I believe that this acceptance which follows joy, needs to be there, before we are able to break into transformation.

To feel accepted is humourous when we realize how messed up we trully are! The humour comes from the contrast of our state, and God’s love for us, as we are. Humour works by putting things normally in different categories in the same one for an instant–a banana peel and a soldier; humour works by contrast: the contrast here is our state and God’s acceptance. I think this is why we laugh (and cry sometimes), when we feel His full acceptance of ourselves. Grace in this way is a funny thing.

Laughter is good medicine, the old adage goes.

Why would laughter be medicine–because when that joy comes, and that self acceptance engulfs us, there is room for His spirit to bring healing. Joy also comes in the morning, because it brings the light of day into our tired souls. It is the morning that the bright and morning star shines–the one already rising in our hearts, each time we are tingled by His Joy!

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