Dear Cobham Park Church Family,
Temperatures have finally cooled, but the church parking lot was a blast furnace a few weeks ago. I was therefore surprised to find cherry tomatoes ripening at the pavement’s edge. We hadn’t seen rain for weeks, and that area had been recently treated with asphalt sealant and herbicide. Vegetables can easily die in a well-tended garden, and yet here they were thriving against all odds. I couldn’t resist the urge to try the reddest cherry tomato hanging on the stem (after I’d washed off a bit of tar and herbicide overspray). It was unexpectedly delicious: sweet, zesty, and succulent.
How did this solitary tomato plant even get here? I will now put forth my “Veggie Bag Theory.” Earlier in the summer, folks brought their freshly picked garden vegetables to share with church friends. Someone clumsily loaded a grocery bag of veggies into his or her car, and dropped a cherry tomato, which then rolled downhill across the lot. A month later…well, you can connect the dots.
These unlikely tomatoes remind me of our joy in Christ. Our world can feel like a blast furnace of discouragement. We’re often treated with disrespect, worrisome news, and painful trials. Ours is a spiritual dry season. And yet here in the most inhospitable conditions, God plants joy in His children. We find Christ’s life growing in surprising places. But how can we experience this joy?
Love. We share Christ’s life like we share garden vegetables with friends. Give away bagfuls of His love, and you’ll receive even more in return! In our scary and maddening world, we can experience Jesus by loving one another. That’s how joy rolls…
Let. A gardener can carefully tend a garden—but only God can make the seed grow. In the same way, we can’t manufacture joy. Joy isn’t an emotion that one can whip up or will into existence; it’s a deep God-reality which abides through emotional ups and downs. When you let God have your life, He will plant this miracle in you. Let Him!
Look. I would have never enjoyed the church’s cherry tomatoes if I hadn’t noticed them. Likewise, we won’t taste God’s joy until we look for Him. Think about Who God is and what He has done. In your busy days, intentionally look at Jesus. You’ll then begin to notice God’s hope, love, and wonder. After weeks of looking at Him, joy’s delicious fruit will begin to grow in you.
“…In all our affliction,I am overflowing with joy.”—2 Corinthians 7:4b (ESV)
In His Joy,