Northern Rivers, New South Wales, Australia

Children and joy

PICTURE: Zurijeta/iStockphoto.com

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”  - I Peter 1:8

Have you ever heard children playing joyfully? We live next door to a family daycare and we often hear the children laughing and playing, with what seems like, total abandon to the fun they are participating in.

If you asked the children why they were laughing, they would probably reply that they were having fun. They may not be able to express what makes them happy. Sometimes, even in the midst of pain, God blesses us with that same inexplicable joy. It may be quite out of place for the circumstances but can be healing, provide hope and be an assurance that He is with us in our darkest times.

"If you asked the children why they were laughing, they would probably reply that they were having fun. They may not be able to express what makes them happy. Sometimes, even in the midst of pain, God blesses us with that same inexplicable joy. It may be quite out of place for the circumstances but can be healing, provide hope and be an assurance that He is with us in our darkest times."

There is one particular situation for me that this happened. My 90-year-old grandmother had had a stroke and was totally incapacitated. I received a call from my mother sobbing on the phone to tell me that Gran’ma wasn’t in a good way.

An airplane flight later and I am sitting by my grandmother’s bedside, holding her hand, praying that God heal her or take her quickly. We were very close. I was her only grand-daughter and can honestly say that her faith made a big impression on my life. To not have her around was incomprehensible to me. She was a great game-player. A walk to the park became a competition to see who could not walk on a crack in the footpath. 

If it was a rainy day and we had planned a picnic, we simply lay out the rug in the spare room, sat and ate our sandwiches while Gran’ma commented on the boy riding by on the bike, or the birds in the trees. There was no limit to her imagination.

Even after I was married and had my first son, we played those games. I remember she came to visit me once and I was in the kitchen cooking. I pretended I was on a cooking show, explaining every step. At one point I was interrupted and when I went back to my task, she said: “Well come on, continue with the cooking show.”



She got me, that is, she understood my way of thinking. And now here she was in a hospital bed, unconscious and, according to the doctor’s report, not going to come out of it. So I waited with my dad and mum for the inevitable. Finally, at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon in the dying moments of the weekend, my grandmother went home. I was still holding her hand as I watched a tear roll from her eye and she took her last breath.

The nurses were wonderful, providing cups of tea and support by advising us of the next steps. They left us to grieve and make phone calls to let my brothers and other family members know. 

Then a strange thing happened. I was sitting on the empty bed in the ward next to Gran’ma and I was suddenly overwhelmed with an incredible sense of joy. It was almost like she was giving me a huge hug before she left. I knew I would miss her terribly but I also knew she was going to be with Jesus. 

That, I believe was my source of inexpressible and glorious joy. Even though I couldn’t see Him, I loved Him enough to know He had taken my Gran’ma to be with Him.