“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes (Psalm 19:8).”
One of the scarcest commodities in our world is joy. It seems everyone is in pursuit of it, but many search for it in places without lasting effect. It’s easy to confuse joy with happiness. Happiness is affected by external sources. When the weather is good, we feel happy. When we are in a pleasant environment, we feel happy. The problem with this is that our external sources are always changing. Therefore, our happiness will come & go for it is dependent on what’s happening around us. Why are entertainment industries like the movie industry, game industry, sports, etc. growing so rapidly? It’s because these are areas in which many are searching for joy without lasting effect. These industries are constantly changing, tweaking, updating to lure the “searchers” and keep them there searching.
Joy is different. It is something that is an overflow from knowing that we are eternally loved and secure. Love is something that children don’t think too hard about or analyze, they just sense it & it is expressed in their laughter. We pray that God use us to give the Taiwanese much to laugh about and drawn to the love where they will find joy.
A couple Sundays ago the pastor in training in charge of the Tandi outreach center opened her home to the youth group for BBQ and fellowship. They ordered pizza. (Pizza is a bit more special occasion food for the average Taiwanese. It’s not just a quick carry-out to feed a hungry crowd like in America.) Jeanette prepared some spinach and cheese ravioli which was a new thing for all of them. She also made spicy pork Korean BBQ and showed them how to wrap and eat it. A few girls commented that they saw people eating like this in the Korean dramas and seemed happy to try it themselves. Some of them were trying to see who could eat the biggest wrap in one bite. We laughed all evening. It was a wonderful day.
It’s always fun to introduce something new to people and see them enjoying it. We like the pure and gentle hearts of this youth group and their willingness to try new things. Our hope and prayer is for them to know their Father in heaven who loves them unconditionally and in this light is where they will find eternal joy.
Speaking of lights…last night after dinner, our family went for a walk in one of our neighborhood parks. We were soon drawn to a brightly lit place in the dark. We knew there’s a temple in that vicinity but never saw the lights because we had only been there during the day. As we walked closer it was clear that the lights were coming from the temple, probably the largest one in Gangshan. It was very open and filled with people chanting & bowing to idols. We saw a family carrying in bags of fruit to place on the altar tables and people buying paper money and incense to burn for the gods. The magnificent structure was adorned with bright neon lights that flashed a rotation of pretty colors on the front, but on the roof were carvings of ghosts and gods that glared down at the entrance. I couldn’t help to think about the flashy lights that draw people in but that they don’t see the darkness that hovers over them. How we long for the light, the radiance of God’s truth to guide them to true joy & freedom in Christ. To this end, we pray.