Retooled (Part 2 - Joy)
By: Jay Cookingham

Joy - The ability to rejoice and see beyond circumstances – The strength of love

The cold air froze around our lips like icy whiskers, numbing our faces. We kept hacking away at our ice-covered adversary, hoping against hope that our efforts would not be vain. The sliding of huge slabs of ice and snow threaten to carry us off the edge and into the depths of the crevice. To this artic wasteland I brought my oldest son with me to face the danger together.

Obviously, I really didn’t bring my son Joshua to the artic; just to the flat roof over one part of our church. A bunch of men had gathered together to clear some heavy snow from the roof before it melted and caused some Noah like problems inside our church. Here I introduced Josh to a new ritual, a cold one for sure, but it warmed his heart with true joy. Working along side of me my son felt part of a “bigger than himself” event. The joking, the shared experience, even the sweat, all produce some serious juice…joy, the strength of love.

My over dramatized opening was meant to entertained but there are scary moments when circumstances can be unforgiving in their harshness, leaving our spirits as barren as an icy terrain. This is where the retooling effect of joy can make a difference in our dealing with those circumstances. This a fruit that:

· Begins with the Father.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

· Gives strength to not grow weary.
“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh. 8:10

· Helps us to go on even when we are afraid.
“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his “disciples. Matthew 28:8

· Gives clear vision despite harsh circumstances.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

As fathers this fruit should be hanging all over us, ready for the picking. Our children need to harvest joy fruit from those branches, giving them strength, encouragement, and a few thousand grins just for fun. Cultivating that tree will plant seeds deep, someday blossoming in their lives; this is the stuff of dadness. Joy crops are real simple things; like a slow-ripening fruit, they tantalize us to rush the process. Dads need to slow the rush of ripening sometimes, pausing to enjoy special joy moments—taking the opportunity to build memories with joy fruit.

A few days ago, I was lying on the couch with my three-year old son Isaac daydreaming. Using our imagination to “see” all sorts of creatures on our ceiling, I asked him if he saw my hawk flying around. His response was pure joy…”Yes daddy, I’m drawing it with my eyes!” That’s joy juice and we were soaked with it.

The stories we tell later in life are the stories we make happen beforehand. It is these shared experiences that continue to retool us—making us more like our Heavenly Father.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
John 15:11