Joy is not happiness that comes and goes, but rather true joy that flourishes not only in good times but in hard times. The people we met were all hard workers. They tended crops and livestock. They lived off the land. They didn’t have the material things that we are so accustomed to.
I witnessed joy when we baptized an old man. He could not get up from under the tree. The young children were eating porridge and he sat there barely moving in the shade of his tree. He had never heard the name Jesus.
As we told him the story of Jesus, he listened and although his eyes could no longer see, he sat and those blue cataract eyes began to glisten. His soft voice said he wanted to receive Jesus into his heart.
He wanted us to share the story with the young children. After they were all baptized, I turned to look at this man who I knew I would probably never see again, and my heart was filled with joy. Even though he lived a hard life, he could no longer see, and could no longer stand. The smile he gave us and his shaky hand waving goodbye – I could see joy on his face. This was joy flourishing in the hard times of this man’s life.