Two paragons of efficiency and excellence are German engineering and Swiss watchmaking. But far exceeding those rigorous standards, stands the ultimate in design perfection, the human body, lovingly and meticulously crafted by God. Beyond its flawless creation, it is self-repairing, self-restoring. When we eat something that our bodies consider threatening to our overall wellbeing, they go into overdrive to expel it. If a mosquito lands and siphons, simultaneously injecting its venom (most distressingly at 2 AM) our bodies jump into action, isolating the alien substance, forming an itchy welt that lasts for about a week (well, mine, at least). If we sprain an ankle, rapid response teams arrive with an impressive, protective swelling. If an infection occurs that overwhelms one of the body’s systems, it sends out an urgent demand for assistance which can’t be ignored. We call it pain. When danger is perceived, warnings sirens and heart palpitations and a rush of adrenaline (and who knows what else?) cause tingling from head to foot. When nutrition is running low, hunger pangs sound the alert and steer us toward a healthy(?) afternoon snack. When energy is depleted, sleep sensors activate to de-activate us (preferably, not while we are at the wheel) and send us in search of our pillow.
However, a problem arises if a functioning of the body, specifically the functioning of the brain, has not been developed properly or, worse, not developed at all during the first several years of a child’s life, through neglect or abuse. Untreated trauma can have a lifelong impact, affecting the child’s brain development, immune system and future mental and physical health. Physical growth continues on schedule, but the brain craves loving, committed relationships to achieve a healthy level of maturity. What brain science has confirmed is that a major factor in this maturing process, is, perhaps surprisingly, joy. Isn’t it intriguing how modern science, in all its specific fields, continues to confirm the accuracy of Scripture and God’s love-centric genius in Creation?
There’s hope! Regardless of past experiences, regardless of unhealed trauma, regardless of a lack of loving community connections, the Holy Spirit intervenes to rescue and heal us, even in adulthood. He creates (sometimes it’s like bushwhacking a trail through a jungle) a ‘path’ out of the darkness of the big emotions (sadness, anger, fear, shame, disgust, and despair), toward the light, and Joy, promised by Jesus. If there’s a ‘norm’ in Christian living, it is that Jesus’ joy is a constant. So, it needs to be recognized as abnormal, to be living out our Jesus discipleship without it. Here’s what’s really cool: y’all are a huge part of His joy! It isn’t what you do, it’s who you are! “We have become his poetry; a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! Ephesians 2:10. May I say, His work in you looks good to me! See you tomorrow morning at 10 AM. PD