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Finding Faith: Don't forget to be joyful

"While there are a great many serious things we need to manage in this earthly life, God does want us to enjoy life too! It is, after all, why he made joy and laughter and the lighter moments that help us celebrate a good life."

Devlyn Brooks 2021
Devlyn Brooks
Contributed
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When was the last time you remember genuinely laughing out of pure joy? … For many of us, it’s been too long.

I recently was reminded of this while helping our son complete transferring colleges. About 45 minutes into the task, I caught him looking down at his phone and chuckling. He looked over at me, with mischief in his eyes, and flashed me that million dollar smile that only Carter has.

He looked back at his phone again, wiggled it back and forth, and laughed even harder, tossing his head back in the process and letting out a roar of joy.

Admittedly, I really had been a crank up to that point because helping him fill out college transfer paperwork hadn’t been in my plans for the day. But this was making it worse. “What is so funny?” I demanded.

Carter looked at his phone again, wiggled it back and forth, and busted a gut even harder. He was having a hoot, and he didn’t care what “Grumpopatumas Dad” next to him thought.

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“It’s this Snapchat filter.” He then demonstrated how the filter that he was using turned his head into a cartoon-like image. It shaped his noggin like an egg standing on end, took away all of his hair, and gave him big, ol’ bug eyes. Essentially, he looked like what I imagine Humpty Dumpty to look like in person.

And he was enjoying it endlessly! He kept moving the phone back and forth, and laughing at each new iteration of his bizarre countenance. He sounded like someone who was 4 years old, not 19.

After a little while longer watching this young man amused by his own silliness, something inside me broke. And the laugh started out slowly, deep in my belly, but by the time it broke the surface, I couldn’t contain my joy any more either. I sat, amazed, joyful and thankful that I could watch my son enjoy such a genuinely simple moment of life. I laughed just as hard alongside him!

While there are a great many serious things we need to manage in this earthly life, God does want us to enjoy life too! It is, after all, why he made joy and laughter and the lighter moments that help us celebrate a good life.

Job 8:21 tells us: “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Life is about balance, and I am grateful that Carter reminded me of this valuable lesson. His joy was palpable and contagious and it pulled me out of a deep funk that had troubled me all day long.

In this rush of modern life, please don’t forget that God wants us to be joyful too!

MORE FAITH NEWS:
A summer trip offered a much greater appreciation of the vastness of God’s creation on earth, while also putting things into perspective.

Related Topics: FAITH
Opinion by Devlyn Brooks
Devlyn Brooks, who works for Modulist, a Forum Communications Co.-owned company, is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. He serves as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minnesota. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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