By Ada Brownell
The day my Aunt Marge gave her heart to Jesus, her life turned from sorrow to joy.
I was only a kid. My whole family witnessed what happened.
Aunt Marge screamed out in the church service, interrupting the pastor’s sermon. “I’m lost!”
Ever since Jesus came, people have talked about being “saved,” but before they can be saved they realize they are lost. They don’t know for sure about how to get to heaven and how to avoid hell. Most everyone would like to be saved from eternal death and receive everlasting life, but they wander about devising their own ideas about the right way to go.
Well Marge knew the way, but she realized she’d strayed. She ran to the altar and screamed and cried, asking God to forgive her sins and save her.
My siblings and I watched wide-eyed. My Mama and several people went forward to pray with her. Suddenly the joy hit. She started shouting praises to God and danced all around the church sanctuary.
She was probably in her 30s then and joy became part of who she was. As a senior citizen she danced in my kitchen one time when she and her son visited. Before they left, she danced in a little circle and sang “The Lord bless you and keep you.”
Our family never forgot what we saw, nor how we witnessed her turning from sin and living joyfully for God, often winning others to Him. The first thing she did when she went to assisted living near the end of her life was win her nurse to the Lord. Her joy was catching!
Joy still bubbled, even in times of trouble, until she was in her 90s and went dancing off into heaven.
Her experience reminds of the day a lame beggar asked Peter and John for alms. The event occurred shortly after the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out on the 120 in the Upper Room.
“Silver and gold have I none,” Peter said to lame beggar. “But such as I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
Peter took him by the right hand and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. “So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping and praising God” (Acts 2:6-8).
King David danced before the Lord with all his might as they brought the ark back to Israel (See 2 Samuel 6:14).
I’ve seen numerous people dance before the Lord. Most were healed or had a significant encounter with God. I’ve never danced, although my inner spirit usually dances with others when God does a work in them and tears of joy flow down my face.
I have a character in my latest book, Polly, who dances when she’s filled with joy. Readers get to know Polly well. Here’s what Deirdre Lockhart at Brilliant Cut Editing, one of my editors, said about Polly: “By the way, I want Polly to live near me. Not just for the food, which made my mouth water, but she made my spirit sing too. I feel my absolute faith a little stronger after living with her and Abe this week.”
The Bible often speaks of followers of Jesus Christ being filled with joy.
“Joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, self control (Galatians 5:22).
The theme of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is “rejoice!” Even in the Old Testament we find many references to joy. Let God fill up your joy tank, and express your joy so others will know. If necessary, dance.
Here's an excerpt from Peach Blossom Rancher showing Polly in a moment of joy.
Polly put her hands on Wellington Davenport's already bowed head and in a loud voice quoted scripture on God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love for the sinner. Then she got happy and shouted, sang and danced all over the parlor. Wellington stared, his face twitching. She pulled him to his feet again, his cold hand trembling in hers. He seemed sober now.
He squeezed her hand. “Thank you. But you’re right. I’m a lowdown useless worm. Keep praying for me.”
With that, he was gone, his horse galloping as if the devil himself chased him.
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