After having completed his first two weeks as the night chaplain for the Kokomo Rescue Mission, me hubby entered upon this third week. During the first two weeks of his training, he went in at noon on Mon., Wed. and Fri. and at three on T days. So this week, he started his new permanent schedule from 3 to 11 p.m. He loves it and we're adjusting pretty painlessly to the new late evening. I was initially a little concerned about Robert having trouble adjusting, but my watchful eye hasn't picked up any signs of problems. The Lord is very gracious to us.
Rob comes home with stories of the night full of hard times sprinkled with glimmers of hope. I pray that the Lord would open doors that no man can shut and shut doors that no man can open in that place. Our great God has His children in every place. I think that God not only uses his ministers in a place to spread His particular lovingkindness as He saves the lost, but also He uses His ministers in a place to spread more of His general lovingkindness as He reforms even hardened rebels to make better choices in their lives. To save sinners is of course the best of the Lord's acts among us, but also any kind of reforming providence shed upon people's lives displays the Great God's remarkable love upon all human beings. But Lord, please reach down and pluck Your little ones out of the fire!
Things are moving along nicely at the Y. I have now assisted about eight or nine swimming classes on three different days - two Wednesdays and a Monday. Hopefully soon I'll feel
knowledgeable enough to take on my own classes. It's not that I'm unsure about teaching the little guys. I feel right at home teaching. It's just that I want to bring my knowledge of the swimming requirements back up to the front of my brain. Its been a really long time since I've taught a swimming class.
I like it, though. I like being around little kids again, watching some of them in the beginning filled with terror at trying out a new experience and being very dependant and clingy to the grown-up. Then timidly responding to praise at a small step well done, and finally jumping into the pool wildly waving their arms yelling "Geronimo!!!" like a madman. And all in three lessons. Fun stuff.
Candace picked me up from the Y last night just in time to get ready for the Wednesday night bible study hosted in our home. My recent experiences with the little swimmers and one of our study topics last night had some uncanny resemblances.
We were studying Acts ch.8 and got to talking about "happiness vs. joy." The faces of my new little friends were fresh in my mind - their emotions swinging rapidly between fear, elation, terror, dependence, wide-eyed trust, and jumping Geronimos. They were definitely happy at times, but this state of mind did not last. In the bible study, we talked about how happiness is fleeting, but joy abides. Happiness is based on outside circumstances, but joy is based on our constant state of being in Christ. Happiness focuses on self, but joy focuses outside ourselves on Christ.
I told the others that I tend to try to get back to my ground zero emotion of happiness (or maybe I should have said "contentment"). There followed much discussion about whether
there is one right or wrong emotion - happiness being only one of them. Point well taken - although I can't bring myself to admit that it is okay for someone to choose to walk around being righteously angry all the time or terminally sad. There are definitely seasons for one to experience different states of emotion, but I think there also must be some emotional states which are more appropriate for everyday living than others. Any comments out there on this?
Someone brought up the point that even Christ expressed different emotions. He didn't abide unmovable in one emotional state. We would have to admit that He was always abiding in a state of inward joy even when He wasn't happy. He was content knowing His heavenly Father and knowing who He was in relation to His Father.
It was brought out that we can also abide in joy by knowing our heavenly Father and knowing who we are in Him. Our joy can also be stirred up by remembering that we are of great value to the Father as seen in Christ's great love for us. He did sacrifice His own life in exchange for ours.