Around the breakfast table this morning my five-year-old daughter asked if she could pray. It was with joy in our hearts that we listened to her simple prayer…
“Dear Jesus, thank you for today. Thank you for the weather. If it rains I will be happy. If it’s sunny I will be happy. Whatever you give us Jesus I will be happy. Love you Jesus. Amen.”
It sometimes amazes my wife and I how much truth can lie in a five-year-old’s prayer. “Whatever you give us Jesus, I will be happy.” How awesome is that?
What a comfort a 5-year-old can bring to the table. This little prayer is a huge reminder to me, once again, to remain joyful in Jesus Christ. The Heidelberg Catechism speaks about it in Question and Answer #1: “What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I belong, body and soul, to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.” That’s true joy!
Before you continue to read on, sit back and ponder that for 3-5 minutes—You belong to Jesus Christ. Let that phrase sink into the inner core of who you are.
Last year, for two weeks in June, I was walking the desert sand of Israel and Palestine with members from my home congregation. This particular trip was vastly different than the others that I have led and participated in. This ministry trip provided imagery into the Scriptures that cannot be found in the classroom. It was a profound experience that I would encourage you as youth workers to participate in at some point during your ministry.
One of the days we were sitting in a synagogue with the heat of the sun beating down on us, learning the procedure of Synagogue during the time of Jesus. Here are a few things that stood out to me that testify to this idea of showing ‘happiness’ in the Lord:
• When the Torah entered the main hall of the synagogue where the people were gathered, they clapped their hands with joy.
• The Torah was walked around the room raised; the congregation would kiss their hands and then touch the Torah.
• Out of respect for the Text, the congregation would stand for the reading of the Torah. The Torah was read for at least 20-30 minutes and the congregation stood during the entire time out of joyful respect.
• It was when the ‘sermon’ was preached, usually for 1-3 minutes, the preacher and the people sat.
The memories of sitting in that synagogue, imagining the people going through their joyful routine out of respect for Yahweh came flooding back when my daughter prayed—“whatever you give us I will be happy!”
From Genesis to Revelation we are reminded in the pages of the Text of God’s plan for Salvation! We are reminded of the Comfort that only He can give but I find myself sometimes not always joyfully respectful or feeling the inner happiness that we are assured of in Jesus Christ. I find myself stagnant in my faith, just going through the motions. Why? I’m not overly sure but perhaps I’m tired, the pressures of the job, family life and I am sure the list can go on and you may have your own specific things that cause you to momentarily disconnect with the Comforter.
Over the next few months, as your ministry programs come to a short halt, take some time to rekindle your joyful respect and happiness with Jesus Christ. Read a good book that will inspire you, bask in the pages of Scripture, go do something fun with your spouse and kids. Be creative and do something that is not a normal part of your ministry routine. Step out of the norm, be a little daring and try something new!
For Christ’s sake, and for yours, take this time to renew your passion for Jesus Christ so that when September comes, you can shout it from the mountain top so that all your youth will know that you are in love with Creator of heaven and earth.
It is my prayer for you that you will dig deep and allow the Holy Spirit to do its restoration work in you so that you can pray the simple prayer—“whatever happens God, I will be happy! “
May you clap with joy at the Words of Jesus spoken to you!