I want to share with you a wonderful story from a friend of mine about heavenly joy breaking out in a public place. This testimony comes from the days before we went into lockdown, but nevertheless it is relevant for this current season, when the need to find sources of joy is very apparent.
I was on the upper deck of a crowded bus reading a book, ‘Dreaming with God’ by Bill Johnson. The man sitting next to me looked over and asked, “Are you a Christian?” When I told him that I was, he shared that he was actually a Christian too, but he had given up dreaming with God a long time ago. He was burnt out by ministry. As we chatted, I saw a picture of a waterfall and joy over him. So, I offered to pray for him. He queried, “What, here on the bus?” but I said that I’d do it very discretely, and that no one needed know what we were doing. Then I prayed, and as I did so, he let out a deep sigh and started saying, “His yoke is easy and His burden is light,” over and over again. Then he began to giggle, then laugh, until eventually he was screaming with laughter, collapsed in his seat! I felt such a heavy Presence of God, it was as if I would slide off my seat if I didn’t grip hold of the seat in front of me. Some people around us began laughing. A couple in the seats in front of us turned around and asked, “What’s the joke?”, and I said, through tears of laughter, “It’s no joke, it’s a download of heavenly joy.” “How do you get that?” they asked and I explained I can pray and you’ll just receive it. As I did, they started laughing too. Suddenly, my neighbour realised that he had completely missed his stop a while back. He proceeded to thank me, saying all the heaviness had lifted, and he felt completely renewed, then off he staggered down the stairs. I heard him laughing on the lower deck as he waited to get off the bus. I had to stagger off soon afterwards with the joyous sound of people still laughing around me.
Jesus prayed for each of us that “the full measure of his joy would be within us” (John 17:13) and we know that his measure is pressed down and flowing over. So let’s be confident in Jesus, our source of joy, so that we can be filled and overflow into the world around us.