Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh, Happiness! (aka, Think Happy Thoughts)

“Oh HAP-i-NEEEEEESS!” Hannah and I rolled down the windows, turned up the stereo obnoxiously loud, and sang at the top of our lungs. Those of you who have sampled my music taste know that I like happy music, and this song by David Crowder Band is happy almost to a fault. And it's one of those songs that gets stuck in your head all day, too, and you find people giving you strange looks which makes you realize you have unknowingly been bouncing back and forth and singing outloud in the paper goods isle at Wal-Mart... But hey, some days there is that much to be happy about.
Yesterday was one of those days. Yesterday was the first day in five months that the temperature had reached 60 degrees in Fort Wayne, and the sun was shining in a blue sky, and the breeze smelled like spring. I’d just finished a fabulous “Shamrock Mocha” at our new favorite local coffee spot, and my allergies seemed to be settling down finally after a week of stuffiness. In many ways, the day looked very promising. But the smile on my face at that moment had nothing to do with any of this, and everything to do with the words in the song:
"Sound the church bells, let them ring, let 'em ring, for everything can be redeemed, we can be redeemed, oh all of us - oh Hap-i-NEEEEESS! there is grace enough for us and the whole human race!"
I love the word "redeemed." It has power. It means "bought or won back." As in, we were all God's in the first place, and sin messed that up a long time ago and seperated us from Him, and God's mission ever since has been to get all of us back, one at a time. He fights for us, goes to the ends of the earth for us, even has died for us, so that we could be his kids again. God so loved the world - on a mega- and micro- level - loved each person from each square inch of the globe. And he has never grown weary of his goal of redemption. His grace is in endless supply - he extends it as a free gift to every person in every nation. It is not based on color, social status, economic situation, religious background, or family ties. And everyone is free to receive it.
This truth makes me so happy when I apply it to my life here in Fort Wayne. Here, I am blessed with an incredible opportunity to live among people from all over the world. I love them, and when I pray for them, I imagine what it would be like to be in heaven with them... singing praises before God's throne as it is portrayed in Revelation 7:9, being so incredibly happy together because we have all been bought back - redeemed - and experienced the amazing grace of our Father.  
That's my motivator. That's how I understand the Great Commission, why Jesus thought it was so important to tell his followers to go and make disciples of all nations - from Jerusalem to the very ends of the earth... because the news is just too good and too big to keep to ourselves and our little social circles. There is grace in abundance overflowing! Redemption is God's goal, and he wants to use us to accomplish it! 
Yes, this song makes me happy - it makes me bounce and hum and roll down my windows and smile. But it also reminds me of God's big plan for all nations. It challenges me to live for that plan and find true joy in being a part of it.

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