Magnificent Joy

My husband and I went to see The Journey movie during Holy Week. I was deeply moved by the scenery, the music and the theme of the film. It seemed obvious to me that this once-in-a-lifetime journey that renown singer, Andrea Bocelli, and his wife, Veronica, embarked on was a bucket list item, especially for him.

And I was glad they shared it with us. 

The cinematography brought back memories of traveling through Rome. And the magnificence of God’s mountains and miles of vast open spaces was overwhelming, as was the musical talent. 

Much of the bucolic areas looked like they could be any number of places I’ve driven to or lived in the U. S. And I loved how each person brought an excellence of beauty everywhere they went, including to the ruins and memorials. 

I could see humility and gratitude expressed in different ways, from the first-time horseback riders, through the reuniting of family, to the race to reach home in the final stretch. Even in the delightful, intimate garden party that awaited them.

Wherever they traveled, they offered a message of “You are not forgotten.”

And I believe this is what our Lord would have us know today. 

He realizes the journey has felt long and hard for so many. But even so, He sees that they have glorified Him along the way. He sees that they’ve gotten back on their horses day-by-day to complete their missions.

And He gave us His magnificent joy as our strength.

To this point, our Lord gave me a divine appointment during this film. It involved an elderly woman, who sat beside me in the theater. 

Since the show was sold out with assigned seating, she and her two adult children could not get seats together. So, she sat beside me, and her family members sat in the row in front of us. 

The film began before this family showed up, and I was so caught up in the movie, it took me a moment to realize God put her there on purpose. 

What could have been a distraction was actually God’s direction to draw my attention to her. So, when she and her family blocked my view of the screen upon arrival, I glanced and smiled. When her phone went off, I glanced and smiled. When she needed help to recline her chair, I glanced and smiled and helped her. 

Once the woman got my attention, I noticed how much she enjoyed the film. I saw her deep, abiding joy. The music and scenery were so meaningful to her that she would hold her hand over her heart and gently shake her head. I saw deep longing on her face fulfilled.

My eyes teared to see this woman’s heart.

I wondered if she was a widow. I wondered if she was Catholic, like the Bocellis. I wondered what her story was, what her journey had been like. But since we couldn’t really talk during the film, I could only appreciate the part God allowed me to see in the little bit of light we had. 

And I came away changed. And this, I believe, is the biggest point. 

That God would move in the hearts of viewers to see something more, something magnificent that would stir us to move beyond where we’ve been and outside of ourselves. 

I believe God has some new relationships for many and that the ones we currently have are being enriched each day as we travel together along the path He has for us. 

Andrea and Veronica Bocelli readily admit in interviews that they could not have accomplished their dream journey without the help of several skilled and equipped travelers.

And neither can we. 

In a follow-up interview, Veronica said that, initially, she wasn’t sure she could complete this 200-mile journey on horseback and that, looking back, she wishes she would have enjoyed the journey more. She said that she learned a lesson about holding onto faith to complete the journey. 

And isn’t this what we can conclude when we look back at some of our own challenging assignments? That God With Us (Immanuel) offers us a magnificent joy to sustain us.

In this light, I am reminded of and encouraged by what Pastor Jack Hayford describes in his book A New Time and A New Place saying, “The summons to us in the Word of God is so magnificent. Let’s determine together to move toward a simple, humble relationship with our Savior, removed from . . . self-centeredness.”

He says that “this place of abundance and rest” is out there and that “it’s shaping itself right now on the horizon.” He says our “Lord is looking for open-hearted, obedient men and women who will stay in His [harvest] field, walk in His way, and believe that, in Him, today can be dramatically different from yesterday.”

I believe that can happen for you and me. 

Just as our Lord re-ignited that elderly woman’s heart when she looked upon a more beautiful place and time, God is taking us to a new and better assignment we’ve never had before.

We can learn from Veronica and hold onto faith and enjoy His magnificence in the journey. 

To God be the glory. 

This devo was graciously re-posted by the Salem Web Network, which includes

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