This past weekend I was very excited to head to the bay to watch a bayside sunset. It is probably my favorite way to spend quiet time with my creator. I love nothing more than to sit in front of a glorious sunset, breathe in the smells, look at the colors, hear the wind, and feel the cool of the night beginning. There is just something about it that completely puts me in the mindset to sit in awe and wonder of my Lord. This particular evening as I was sitting, out of nowhere big, nasty stormy clouds rolled in. They were magnificently terrifying and quickly stole the bright colors of the sky. It was as if ugly black clouds were invading the bright orange sky. The brightness of the light was being choked out and my sunset was strangled away by the stormy atmosphere. Honestly I was pretty annoyed because I felt God led me to watch that particular sunset. It wasn’t until later God revealed the significance and the truth in this evening.
God spoke to me through this. He showed me that is what happens when the darkness of doubt, worry, frustration, and stress creep into my life, and I allow them to stay. Pretty soon the glorious display of light is covered up and not much is on display anymore. So often I get overwhelmed when darkness invades the Light that is within me. I forget the battle is not mine to fight. The victory is already won. It was won 2000 years ago when an innocent man was nailed to a cross for me.
In Camp this past week we studied the parable of the farmer planting seeds. In the story the farmer plants seeds in soil that chokes, snares, and malnourishes. In all these situations the seeds fight for life but do not prosper until the farmer finally plants the seeds in good soil. It is not until then that the seeds can grow easily, and to their fullest potential. Jesus instructs us how we want to make our hearts a good place for God’s word to grow. Our hearts need to be the good soil. But, so often I forget to pluck the weeds of frustration, worry, doubt, stress, and anxiety. I let the storm clouds sneak in, and I let the weeds choke out the good. However, we can choose Christ. We can choose Joy. We can look to God instead of the overwhelming surroundings that occur at Summer Bible Camp and in everyday life.
Matthew 13:3-8 “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Even when I have forgotten to plan a game, when I get stood up on an appointment, when a student doesn’t listen, when a helper misunderstands my instructions, I can choose Joy. When insults are being fired from an angry camper in time out, I CAN CHOOSE JOY. Because JOY wins. Joy wins because Jesus won. I don’t have to be overwhelmed by the darkness. I can turn from the stress, the anxiety, the let-downs, the weakness, and the insecurities because Christ has already won I don’t have to worry.
So today I choose Joy. Stress LOST. Anxiety LOST. Pride LOST. I never felt such Joy. My heart is still overwhelmed by the unthinkable Joy. I am never going back! Because when darkness started to sneak in, I looked to the Light. Finding the Joy, focusing on Christ, and remembering why I am here kept my storm clouds out today. I am here to shine God’s light to bring him Glory. I can choose Joy to stay bright, and so can you. Looking to Christ, the everlasting LIGHT, that is the way to keep the storm clouds at bay, and that is the way the good soil stays fertile. That is the way I found Joy.