Pure Joy


My 12 yr. old daughter has had one dream for the past 4 years, to play basketball on a school basketball team. When we moved to Wiggins and she started at Stone Middle School, she made it her one track goal to make the team. She played in the local recreation league last winter and practiced all Spring before trying out. She was beside herself with excitement, when she found out she made the team on the last day of school. 
She is a great player to have on the team. There are few players who love the game as much as her, and she has the best attitude of any athlete you will ever meet. She has great shooting technique. She has one struggle. Her coach would tell you that “she does not have a mean bone in her body.” Her hesitance to be aggressive holds her back from playing as well as the rest of the team which causes her to be unsure and insecure in her game.
Her heart and great attitude have stolen the hearts of her coach and her team. They have made it a point to get her into the game and get her the ball so that she could have a chance to shoot and score for the team. Before last Thursday night’s game, she had gone 0 for about 7 from the floor, and she had missed two free throws on the season. The coaches and the team decided in the fourth period of the last game of the season, up by almost 20 points, that she was going to score if it took the whole team to get it done. 
My heart overflowed with joy and excitement as time and again her teammates fought to get steal after steal, rebound after rebound all so that they could get the ball to my girl and give her shots. She missed several times, and she also missed a pair of free throws. Finally, in a surreal moment, she received a pass from her point guard, turned, and banked a shot into the basket.The crowd went absolutely wild. My daughter buried her face in her hands and burst into tears of pure joy. Her coaches and all of her teammates rushed to her and embraced her in their arms. You would have thought they had just won the championship at the buzzer. 
The joy in my heart was indescribable at that moment. Every parent wants to see their child happy, and this was the absolute happiest I had ever seen her. I asked her why she got so emotional after the shot. She said, “Dad, it wasn’t just that I scored the goal. It was that my coaches never gave up on me. It was that my teammates cared so much. They fought for me. They won that moment for me.”  
It reminds me of something that the Lord has taught me from His word over the years. Joy, pure joy, comes not from what we accomplish. It precipitates from the victories that are won on our behalf. The foundation for the greatest joy that we will ever know, comes not from what we have done, but what the Triune God has done for us. 
We were lost, dead in our trespasses and sins. At just the right time, God the Father lovingly sent the Son who came, lived a perfect life, died on our behalf, and was raised from the dead in victory. The Holy Spirit then awakened our hearts to believe on the name of Jesus. By His grace, He transported us out of the darkness and into the light, out of the grave and into life. God employed every person of His being to win the victory for us.

The moment we realize this truth is like the moment that my girl saw that shot pass through the hoop. You understand that God never gave up on you. Joy floods your soul because you realize that you are who you are as a result of the battle that was fought and won on your behalf. My prayer is that, by sharing this story, you would be adequately reminded of the moment you came to know pure joy. If you do not have it, I pray you would find pure joy by repenting and believing in Jesus.