Grandma Murphy gave me joy.
When I was young, my grandparents were a full day’s drive away, so we didn’t get to visit often. I remember climbing out of the car after the long trip and greeting the stocky woman with a twisted gray bun. She was usually outside watering a grassy patch in the yard. What astounded me was her solid footing in bare feet while bees swarmed around her legs. She didn’t flinch.
We’d always enter the house through the back. The wood framed screen door would squeak loudly in complaint as it stretched back. Once everyone was inside, the door was released, and with a loud pop, it sealed us inside.
While we were there, it seemed like everything Grandma needed was outside. I’d watch her go in and out that door, every pop reassuring me I was safe, away from the bees.
Grandma had a beautiful rose covered bowl that I cherished. She served warm potato salad in it, which I didn’t love, but always ate, because it was in that beautiful vessel.
I’d hold my breath when the dishes were being washed. Afraid the fragile bowl might slip from her hands, I’d cringe while Grandma masterfully twirled it around in her sudsy fingers.
She masterfully handled Grandpa, too. I remember one time when his hearing was failing, he kept insisting that Grandma call a distant relative to come over to visit while we were there. Several times, she patiently responded that they were out of town. He wasn’t hearing her, though, and persisted.
Finally, without blinking an eye, she picked up the old rotary phone and dialed. After a minute, she put the receiver back in its cradle.
“No answer Jess,” she said.
I was sitting close enough to see that the call was never made. She held the connector button down the entire time. The call didn’t connect, but Grandpa was content after that.
Memories of her fearless encounters with the bees, controlling the screen door, handling the fragile bowl, and consoling my grandpa were joyful times for me. Not because they were earth shaking events. There were no firecrackers, claps, or admiring crowds.
They were joyful because I was very content watching her at work and taking charge of every situation with ease.
It’s the same way with our Father in heaven. The joy he gives is a contentment knowing that he has everything under control. He can handle the stings, opening and closing of doors, and life’s most fragile moments. And yes, he will even occasionally pacify us to settle things down.
Pure joy. It doesn’t come like a marching parade. It shows up in the smallest ways to remind us that God is in complete control.
“In that day you will sing: ‘I will praise you, O Lord! You were angry with me, but not anymore. Now you comfort me. See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.’ With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!”
Isaiah 12: 1-3 NLT