The Joy Of The Lord Is The Number One Thing I Pack In My Suitcase

“Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. he had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.” -S.D. Gordon, (19 Century Author) 

Part of the reason I love to travel so much is the unpredictability of it all. The excitement of not knowing what I am going to expect. Yet, that excitement quickly dwindles when I am stuck in a three-hour traffic jam making a seven-hour road trip jump up to ten (which, by the way, has happened before).

I have to say I have lived my life with Jesus and I have lived my life without him. Overall in both lives, I am a happy easy-going person. The difference comes when I add Jesus into my life I become joyful. Like crazy JOYFUL. I know it sounds like heavy emotional jargon,  but in that traffic jam, there are really only two options. Scenario one: I get really mad. Like stupid mad. Every car that comes close to hitting my bumper I shout profanity. Yes, I do. I am no saint. Scenario two: I accept what is happening around me. In the scenario, I  choose to take that time to call an old friend, listen to my tunes on the radio, and pray. Essentially I choose to be joyful because I allow Jesus to use the situation for his good.

I have been both people, and I have to say I like the second one better. Without Jesus traveling becomes so much more rigid. More irritating.  I forget that I might have written the itinerary, but he literally wrote the whole freakin world into existence. Why do we forget that?

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever”. -Psalms 16:11

I remember having a nine-hour layover at Miami International Airport. Originally it was not supposed to be that long, but you know the drill bad weather, storms, blah blah. I had woken up at 2am the night before to get on an airplane from Ecuador to Miami, driven two hours to the airport, and got frisked by a security guy before the flight left at 5am. After Miami we were supposed to fly to Raleigh, NC then a two-hour ride home. We are talking about 24 hours of traveling. I LOVED IT! Yeah, I know I am crazy. But I remember sitting in the airport in Miami and loving every second of it. Watching the people coming and going. Also, the World Cup was happing, so how could anyone possibly be bored with that.

Some of the others in my group had a different experience. Okay, I am talking about a close friend. She was tired and annoyed, and honestly who could blame her. She was so ready to be home, but I was just living in the moment joyful just to be. More than often I do act like she did that day (Probably more than she does). I reflected on this moment when I think about how exhausting travel can be. It requires supernatural power. A supernatural joy. Basically just Jesus.

Jesus makes delays turn into opportunities.

Jesus makes distress turn into a conversation.

Jesus takes every stressful situation and turns it into something beautiful.

Wherever I go next I am bringing that joy with me, because I swear I couldn’t do it by myself. Not out of weakness or evasion, but because I know the powers of the Lord. I know what is meant to be an unbeliever, and it sucks. With Jesus, there is so much hope and so much life.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13