Yesterday I had the opportunity to push a cart around Bachman’s floral shop while my Grandma, aunts, and mom picked out flowers. I actually found myself enjoying the experience. There was one moment, though, that stuck in my memory. My mom was swiftly walking here and there trying to find some kind of geranium that my grandma wanted while simultaneously looking for an employee. When she came back to the group I couldn’t help but crack a smile and chuckle to myself a little. She glanced over and began to snicker also, asking if I was laughing because I thought she was being too bossy and controlling. Of course I denied this but I don’t think she believed me. But to be honest I don’t think I was smiling because of that. There was something content, something deep, something subtle that was bringing me joy.
For as long as I can remember I have always cherished those moments. The times when I look across the table at my brother and we both can’t help but give a grin. Or the mornings where sunlight slowly pours in and I can just lay there, basking in the warmth. Or sitting in a field during the summer and watching a distant thunderstorm in awe. They aren’t moments of bursting happiness or exuberant laughter. They are more intimate, more sweet, more intricate.
Anyone can experience these moments in their life but as followers of Jesus, I think we experience them on a whole different level. As I said before, this subtle joy holds a sort of intimacy. While any person can experience a sort of intimacy, we are able to experience it with the most loving and joyful being there is! Jesus has made it so that we can be close with him every moment of our lives. As he draws us closer he reveals to us more and more of his love and joy. Sometimes this completely ravishes us and we sing and dance but other times we are simply satisfied by it and our souls find rest.
I know it may seem odd (and probably not even correct) but I like to think that this is what made it possible for the disciples to endure such horrific persecution. Yes, Paul sang in his jail cell but I don’t think he was always singing. I’d like to think that he was so close to Jesus that even when he was being flogged he could find a sort of intricate joy.
When I think about that verse in 1 Thessalonians that says to rejoice always and pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, I think about those moments that bring subtle joy. As our relationship with God grows deeper these moments start to expand into a mindset. Our thoughts are not as consumed with fear or pride or self-consciousness; rather, they become set on Jesus. I cannot remember who said it but he or she basically said that our aim should be that Jesus become more real than the physical world around us. When this happens I think we are given a tiny taste of heaven, a little bit of subtle joy.