I read a holiday post from a friend from Lewis on FB last week. He, his wife, and his parents have spent a week in Ontario, and this part in particular brought back memories of experiences I could relate to:
From Ian MacRae's post:
"This trip was great for us, but it was primarily for my folks' sake - they probably wouldn't have done a trip like this on their own. But you know the feeling when you know a sight is sensational or food is delicious and you watch someone experience it for themselves? It's pure pleasure, and that's what it was like to see Da and Ma when they saw the Niagara Falls or reached the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or bit into a Boston Kreme from Dunkin' Donuts!"
I had made all the bookings, and done all the planning, and it was with some anticipation I waited for their reaction when they would see the Niagara Falls for the first time.
We drove into Niagara via 'the back roads', and so saw nothing of the Falls. We walked into the hotel, into the elevator and onto the 29th floor. I stood back and allowed all of them to go into the suite which had promised 'floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows, ensuring a great view of the Falls'.
Would that be the case? And even if it was true, would the rest of my family feel as I'd felt when I first saw them? I stood back and waited ..... until I heard the collective gasp of
followed by more gasps as more and more of the sight was more fully realised.
Ian's post reminded me of this and it got me thinking of how our joys are increased by sharing them with others. (Kids, this is why I (rather frequently) called you to see the beauty and wonder of yet another sunset when we were living in Ness. How could I not share the joy?)
What a gift God gave us when He gave us the ability to communicate with others. What a blessing He gave us when He gave us family and friends and loved ones with whom to speak. Sharing experiences brings greater joy than living through the experiences on our own. I would have loved the Niagara Falls on my own, but I know for certain that having my family to share the wonder and fun and joy added immeasurably to my own experience.
And don't we love to share with others, too, of our spiritual experiences? Malachi 3 tells us that those 'who loved the Lord spoke often one to another'. What a blessing it is to say to others, 'Come hear what the Lord has done for my soul'!
This morning, I was reading in Luke 1, where Elizabeth, who is pregnant with her son, John the Baptist, and Mary, who is carrying our Lord, meet up and spend three months together. What joy there was in their first meeting! Indeed, even John who was in Elizabeth's womb 'leaped for joy'! What blessed conversations they must have had over these three months; how much they would have shared of their own pregnancies - both miraculous in their own ways; how many words would have poured out of them of God's gracious dealings with them. And what joy to share them with each other!
God also gave us each other to share our griefs. If our joys increase by sharing, surely our sorrows and our griefs are decreased by sharing them.What a blessed relief it can be to share our sorrows, especially with others who truly understand, or with those who have empathy even if they've never been through the same kind of grief.
Our blessed Lord experienced both joy and sorrow. We are told that 'for the joy set before Him', He went to Cross, and endured the horror and suffering of Calvary. The joy of redeeming His bride, along with His love for His Father, carried Him to Calvary's death.
We also know that our Saviour was 'a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief'. How much grief He suffered for His thirty-three years in this world.
And so, with our joys and with our sorrows, whilst having the blessing of family, friends, and yes, even Facebook acquaintances with whom to share them, we are most especially blessed that we can take them all to our Friend who 'sticks closer than any brother' (Prov 18:24). He will increase our joy as we pour out our hearts to him. He will decrease our sorrow as we do the same. And He has empathy like no other, because ...
"we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15,16)
And so, let us be good sharers, and good listeners when others wish to share, and let us never be slow to share the best news ever told! Let's often say, 'Come, hear, I'll tell what God has done for my soul'. Let's Gossip the Gospel!