Jesus' Mercy Changes Me, We and the World

Surprised by Joy

Our Friday morning men’s group is reading an excellent book by Henri Nouwen titled “Here and Now: Living in the Spirit”.  The following is an excerpt from Nouwen’s chapter about Joy.

“The great challenge of faith is to be surprised by joy.  I remember sitting at a dinner table with friends discussing the economic depression of the country (the book was published in 1994).  We kept throwing out statistics that made us increasingly convinced that things could only get worse.  Then, suddenly, the four year old son of one of my friends opened the door, ran to his father, and said,  “Look Daddy!  Look!  I found a little kitten in the yard…Look…isn’t she cute?”  While showing the kitten to his father, the little boy stroked the kitten with his hands and held it to his face.  All at once, everything changed.  The little boy and his kitten became the center of attention.  There were smiles, strokes, and many tender words. We were surprised by joy!”

“God became a little child in the midst of a violent world.  Are we surprised by joy, or do we keep saying “How nice and sweet, but the reality is different.”  What if the child reveals to us what is really real?”

Loving God, Help us to be open to the many things that you do in our daily lives that could surprise us with joy, were we to pay attention to them.  Help us to notice both the big things and the little things that happen around us that remind us of your unconditional love for us, and then give you thanks!  Surprise us with joy this day and every day!


Dave Erickson-Pearson