joy

Serve The Servants // Micah

ICUs are challenging places. They house the vulnerable, who apart from professional service, cannot survive. Between my father being hit by a truck, me breaking my neck and our two children starting as premies, my wife and I have spent our fair share of time in critical care units.

As my bride sat with our daughter in the heaviness of the NICU last Saturday, something beautiful happened. An army of loving people ascended on the unit, wearing red shirts with “Serve Team” across their chests. They brought diapers, baby clothes, mommy essentials, refreshments and much more. They loved on worn-out mothers, many having children on the brink of death. In all they did, they valiantly shared and showed the love of Christ to needy people.

My wife was moved by their love for her, but floored by the platform this gave her as an insider. While she took care of our daughter, she had been serving other moms. She had been buying devotionals and consoling women who were losing their babies. She’d grown weary having spent hours walking alongside a mom who birthed early under hardship and feared abuse on return if her child survived. But joy flooded in at the hands of this groups service and it prompted chatter, “maybe these people are different,” “maybe I can find hope.” 

The heavy hearts that had filled a space, were lifted, and even my ever-resilient sweetheart got the shot in the arm she needed. As they left, Audrey pulled one of the visitors aside and said, “I will handle follow up from the inside." How beautiful indeed when lovers of Jesus, who actively reach the hurting, take time to serve the servants.

Luke 12:37 “The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat!”

Proverbs 11:25 “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

- Micah McElveen

Friends of God // Micah

When we consider God’s grand attributes, limitless power, boundary-less reign in light of our feeble flesh, limited capacity and hemmed in influence “relatable” is not the word that first comes to mind. Indeed many see God as creating all things then retreating to Heaven unwilling to engage in human affairs. After all, why would one so perfect, complete, and Holy want anything to do with our brokenness?

And yet, Emanuel chooses to be with us.  The God of Heaven took on flesh, embraced our weaknesses and bore the weight of our wrong doing. Jesus paid our sin debt so that we could be made right with God. As amazing as that is, He doesn’t stop with offering us pardon. One of the most mind blowing truths in scripture is that Yahweh actually invites us to be His friends. 

What joy floods the soul when we realize that the One who spoke the World into orbit and knows our every thought wants you and I to walk as friends of God.

Romans 5:10-11 “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”

- Micah McElveen

Created For Wonder // Micah

As the father of a very curious, highly risk tolerant, 2 yr old boy I have been relearning the beauty of wonder. To Arrow, the world is a playground and each morning a new opportunity to ride its slides and test its swings. Again and again, the corners of his mouth turn up and his eyes sparkle as he tastes, touches and sees things that delight him. I have formed a daily goal, to have his eyes catch mine in a moment of wonder.

When you think about it, we really are born curious and designed to experience life walking through the doors to which that curiosity leads. Curiosity begs, "What does that taste like? What would this feel like?" Upon enjoying, wonder says, "Now that one was a winner." On this journey, we call life, wonder surfaces when our senses are lit up by discovery.

Yet, along the way, most of us tend to find this orientation slipping from our view. In the grind, this substance rich essential is crushed beyond the point of recognition. We lose sight of thriving and exchange it for just surviving. Sin and weights drown out, stifle and pervert this God born posture. Life, indeed, tends to knock the wonder out of us.

This is a travesty, as wonder is a key to unlocking joy, and joy in God is "our strength." Wonder is a lynchpin for genuine worship. Wonder reminds the soul that though we walk in a broken world we live before a perfect God. It whispers, "Though the fall ushered in a world of bad, God made all things good and is 'making all things new.'" God gave us the capacity to interact with His goodness in a way that transcends the mess and allows us to be moved to the core. God intended that we be so deeply impressed that awe would flood our souls. He designed it all in such a way that we would come to points where the most natural thing to do is, stand jaw dropped, convinced that The One behind whatever we just experienced must be indescribable.

I believe with all my heart that our great God and Savior desires us to interact with His goodness in a way that leads us to see His greatness. In the end, He reminds us of what He intended from the beginning when we remember we were Created For Wonder.

Psalms 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!"

Job 37:14b "...Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!"

Psalms 77:14 "You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations."

Psalm 145:5 "On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate."

- Micah McElveen

Eternal Night Light // Micah

These days, it seems, each news cycle blows in a stormier forecast than the last, predicting the rapid arrival of an increasingly large cloud. The societal message insists that long-standing political instability is ushering in a national solar eclipse, in which impending darkness is guaranteed to snuff out any ray of hope.

As Christ Followers, our faith should no doubt shape our world view and guide the formation of our political perspectives. That notwithstanding, it is easy to intertwine them to the point where our hope becomes anchored in "the two" as if they were one. Unwavering optimism rooted in the guaranteed promises of Christ is swapped for highs and lows as volatile as political appointments and subsequent policy change. Joy rooted in our sovereign Lord is exchanged for the wavering strength returned to those who bank their happiness in stocks driven by speculation. Is any light able to survive such a dark night?

In times as these, we do well to remind ourselves of Christ's truth found in...

"The Word [Jesus] gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." John 1:4-5

Christ is the origin of life. Christ's radiance is global. Christ is still piercing the night and no matter the age He will never be overcome by darkness. He's the effervescence in the noonday light and the glow dispelling the midnight darkness. When dawn settles in we need not despair, for our path is lit by the Eternal Night Light.

- Micah McElveen