These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you.... -John 15:11
Somewhere in the clutter of mail that came the other day-bills and catalogs and so on-was a reproduction of a drawing called The Joyful Christ by an artist named R.S. Riddick. Just a pen-and-ink sketch of the head and shoulders of a bearded young man, smiling at something or somebody off to the viewer's right, smiling with such warmth and spontaneity that I pinned it up over my desk so that I see it when I look up.
Whenever I do, I find myself wondering: What is He smiling about? Is He encouraging some shy little street urchin to sit on His lap? Is He gently urging Martha not to be such a fussbudget? Has He just told the disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, and are all of them laughing because they know, as Bible scholars tell us, that the "eye of the needle" was the name for a small gate in the city wall of Jerusalem where a loaded camel had to struggle to get through?
Or, perhaps, is He saying to me, "Come now, don't fret so much about the future and what it may or may not hold. Sure, you have some problems. Everyone does. But you also have built into you by your Heavenly Father the resources to cope with them. Besides, I am right here beside you, and if I can smile at your fears, what are you so worried about?"
A "Joyful Christ"? That's the thing He surely was. That's one thing He wants us to remember about Him today.
Smiling Lord, thank You for the healing power of laughter. -Arthur Gordon