*First published on January 25, 2009
This photo reminds of of a kaleidoscope. Looking through the tube of a kaleidoscope and turning the wheel provides us with an endless beauty of shapes and colors. Do you remember the wonderment and joy the first time you looked through a kaleidoscope. It just does not seem as exciting as an adult. Our world seems the same way. God provides us endless beauty all around us each and every day, in more ways than just shapes and colors, but in faces and actions and events as well. There is endless beauty in our lives which God has given to us for our enjoyment, but we so often fail to look at it -- to really look at it -- and to see it as God's gift for us to enjoy.
I like to displace myself from my fast-paced view, stop right where I am, and really look. It is amazing what I can see if I take myself outside of the box. For instance, as I set here at my computer and take a moment to look around, I see a half full glass of water with the morning light shining through it. How simple and beautiful it is.
I think this is similar to what a photographer looking through a lens must feel. That's why I like photography. It allows me to look at things differently and appreciate the beauty that is within something so simple.
In this verse, Jesus says "I have told you this so...." What has he told us? What has He told us that would cause joy to be in us at all times and what joy would make us complete? Of course, God gives us so much each and every day in and around our lives to give us joy, but what is the real joy which He speaks of in this verse?
What happens when we look through a kaleidoscope in the dark? We see nothing. The light shining through the end of the kaleidoscope is vital to the beauty we see. In our lives, Jesus is the light that shines through. We cannot be full of His true joy unless we look at life through His light. We cannot be full of His true joy unless we allow His light to shine through us.
Jesus is the source of all joy. Sometimes, when we are down and out because of all the ugly things going on in our lives, we forget to look through the source of light to find joy. We find joy in His forgiveness, in His hope, in His fruit, in His love, in His answers to prayer, and in His comfort.
Jesus wants our joy to be complete. He wants us to be full of joy always. Even as we ride over the bumps in life, they can feel smooth as long as we have Jesus supporting us like the springing shocks on a car. With Jesus, we can enjoy the ride while letting him absorb all the bumps.
And yet I know these things, but I often struggle to put them in practice. That is because the devil does not want me to put them into practice and have complete joy.
What beauty do you see in your life around you? Do you also see the true beauty through Jesus Christ?