Mad, Sad or Overjoyed!

“I’ve heard that there are two kinds of Christians in the world,” the young woman said perched on the couch of a home I visited lately. “People either see God as mad or sad.” On a normal day, that would have sounded fine to me. Either he is mad at our sin and wants to blast the world into oblivion, or he is sad over our sin and hopes to rescue us. Of those two, I’d choose the latter.

But the way God works these things out, I’d had breakfast earlier in the day with a group of men and one of them said that the truth that began his exploration of a greater journey was when he’d heard someone say that God is the most joyful presence in the universe.

So when I heard he was either sad or mad, I was already alert to a third alternative. Mad or sad still focuses on us and our sin. Isn’t it interesting how we are taught in religion to view God through our sin, not to view God beyond our sin? Instead of celebrating the essential nature of God at work in a broken world to rescue us to himself, we’re left to sulk in the brokenness and failures of this temporal age.

Jesus told his disciples the night before he died that he was telling them all these things so that his joy to be in them and for their joy to be full. This is his passion, to see us find the same joy in the Father that he knew. When Jesus said that he was only hours away from his trial and crucifixion. He said it despite the fact that his countrymen lived under the repression of Roman rule. He said it in the face of a world still being devastated by sin, disease, war and great pain. And in the face of all of that he let’s us see that God is neither mad or sad in his creation. He is the most joyful presence above it and inside of it.

It is that joy that he came to share with us—a joy that consumes any pain, trial, failure, or struggle we might be in at the moment. It is a joy deeply based on the pleasure of God, his desire for us and his unfolding purpse in the world. He invites us to live in that space with him and let it prevail over the temporal pains of the world we live in. Paul called those “momentary, light afflictions” that produce in us an “eternal weight of glory.” This was the apostle who’d been stoned numerous times, shipwrecked three times, robbed on his journeys and lied about by close friends. Obviously he was focused on something far greater and far grander than those circumstances.

The joy Jesus spoke about is not temporal and thus swings with the fickle tides of circumstance. It goes deeply into his own character and purpose unfolding in this broken world.

That’s where I want to live—every day, in every situation. And, boy, do I have a ways to go there.

I hope you have a blessed weekend. Sara and I are getting read for our trip to South Africa for the next two weeks.

Share this Post!

Related post

20 Comments
  1. Laura October 16, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    What an amazing perspective to have. As an ER nurse, I often feel very much caught up in “the fickle tides of circumstance,” and it’s not a pleasant experience most of the time. To think that I can live in that joyful space with Him regardless of the situation– wow. I definitely want that. Thanks for sharing; this message couldn’t have come at a better time.

  2. Laura October 17, 2009 at 1:47 am

    What an amazing perspective to have. As an ER nurse, I often feel very much caught up in “the fickle tides of circumstance,” and it’s not a pleasant experience most of the time. To think that I can live in that joyful space with Him regardless of the situation– wow. I definitely want that. Thanks for sharing; this message couldn’t have come at a better time.

  3. pam October 17, 2009 at 5:03 am

    Perhaps He experiences the full range of emotions. The story of redemption always leads him back to joy.

  4. Bill Ooms October 17, 2009 at 7:53 am

    I really needed to hear that this morning! A few days ago I got sucked into a discussion with someone who was convinced that we need to read and interpret the New Testament in light of the wrathful “mad” god of the Old Testament (rather than the other way around). Its time to go back to the abundant joy of sitting on Father’s knee.

  5. pam October 17, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Perhaps He experiences the full range of emotions. The story of redemption always leads him back to joy.

  6. David Grant October 17, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I loved the part in the Shack that talked about expectations. God knows how many times we will fail, so isn’t disappointed when we do. That’s just one more step towards finally becoming free. It’s like a parent celebrating their toddler falling down. It means their learning to walk. It’s hard to imagine that he celebrates our freedom. The cost has been horrific but the alternative was even worse.

  7. Bill Ooms October 17, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I really needed to hear that this morning! A few days ago I got sucked into a discussion with someone who was convinced that we need to read and interpret the New Testament in light of the wrathful “mad” god of the Old Testament (rather than the other way around). Its time to go back to the abundant joy of sitting on Father’s knee.

  8. David Grant October 17, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I loved the part in the Shack that talked about expectations. God knows how many times we will fail, so isn’t disappointed when we do. That’s just one more step towards finally becoming free. It’s like a parent celebrating their toddler falling down. It means their learning to walk. It’s hard to imagine that he celebrates our freedom. The cost has been horrific but the alternative was even worse.

  9. Ian Stapleton October 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Our Father hasn and has always has a sovereign plan, and as far as He is concerned He is right on time. I have had similar statements posed to me as well. I believe that as far as He is concerned He has us just where He wants us, isn’t He in control after all!
    Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for “the joy” set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    Jesus had full confidence in Father’s plan, O if only we could, but He will get us there. He who has promised is faithful amen!

  10. Fran October 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you so much for the reminder! We know this but it is so easy to forget when trying to dodge the mud thrown up by the wheels of the world machine.

  11. Ian Stapleton October 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Our Father hasn and has always has a sovereign plan, and as far as He is concerned He is right on time. I have had similar statements posed to me as well. I believe that as far as He is concerned He has us just where He wants us, isn’t He in control after all!
    Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for “the joy” set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    Jesus had full confidence in Father’s plan, O if only we could, but He will get us there. He who has promised is faithful amen!

  12. Fran October 17, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Thank you so much for the reminder! We know this but it is so easy to forget when trying to dodge the mud thrown up by the wheels of the world machine.

  13. sue olson October 20, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I am so encouraged by this. All i am seeing unfold is hardship and i am so focused on the junk in my life that i forget to focus on who God is apart from my sin and his redemptive plan in my life. God reminded me in brokeness today, that His joy is my strength. I am learning a new strength and renewing my mind with the truth of who the FAther is. Your book, He loves me, has inspired me so much this past year, and i am seeing the reality of it unfold in my life. it’s getting from my head slowly to my heart.

  14. sue olson October 20, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I am so encouraged by this. All i am seeing unfold is hardship and i am so focused on the junk in my life that i forget to focus on who God is apart from my sin and his redemptive plan in my life. God reminded me in brokeness today, that His joy is my strength. I am learning a new strength and renewing my mind with the truth of who the FAther is. Your book, He loves me, has inspired me so much this past year, and i am seeing the reality of it unfold in my life. it’s getting from my head slowly to my heart.

  15. Jill October 21, 2009 at 7:48 am

    yes, yes, yes,
    thanks for putting this into words

  16. Jill October 21, 2009 at 10:48 am

    yes, yes, yes,
    thanks for putting this into words

  17. Gwen Readhead October 25, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Thankyou Wayne for such an encouraging word. I didn’t realize how much I concentrated on my sin, & how little on the joy of the Lord until I read this article. I plan to reverse my focus so that I am concentrating more on Father than on self.
    I thank you for your ministry here & on The God Journey.

  18. Gwen Readhead October 25, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Thankyou Wayne for such an encouraging word. I didn’t realize how much I concentrated on my sin, & how little on the joy of the Lord until I read this article. I plan to reverse my focus so that I am concentrating more on Father than on self.
    I thank you for your ministry here & on The God Journey.

  19. Denis Daoust November 3, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Father is speaking to his children all over the earth.I was bless by the revelation on Father,s view of us
    and my brothers and sisters in Christ comments.Father loves us come run to Him .He is always waiting for you with his arms wide open.He wants to pick you up sit you on His knees and caress,hug you passionnally.You are so precious in his sight.He is revealing Himself by revelations He is giving to His body through Pearls of Truth that are being share through the body of Christ.Not just one brother or one sister so nobody gets puff up by these revelations (which I call Pearls of Truth).I,m so excited at what is happening all over the earth.We are connected because of the technology of the computers,laptops,cell phones,Facebook,My Space etc.They are just tools to stay connected in that space.But it must never take the place of relationships.My greatest joy is when I meet a brother in Christ or a sister in Christ.Father has an awsome family.I need each one of you.Let us run the race set before us together.We are not in competition no,no,no.Father is doing what He said He would do.He is building His church.Who is His church?Look around see You and me.US.Never was a literal building made of bricks,or wood,or steel etc.NO,NO,NO,Was always throughr the ages a living organisim.We have made a building an institution because we are confortable in that environment.We are secure.O my brother O my sister like our brother Peter did Step out of your comfort zone.Start walhing on the water don,t let the enemy side track you.Keep your eyes fix on Jesus.Keep your ears tune to his voice.Don,t let go of his hand.You,ll make it.You will stay above your circumstances around you.Father loves us so much I,m overwhelm with His love.You see I,m dead to self Totally dead.It is Jesus Christ of Nazareth that is alive in Denis DaoustYes He has send the third person of the trinity The Holy Spirit to teach us all truth(Jesus is Truth).Like our beloved Bridegroom promise us He did not leave us orphan alone on our onw to walk this journey down here.This is not our home.So much to share but this is good for now.I LOVE EACH ONE OF YOU SO MUCH.FATHER SAID THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIAN BY OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

  20. Denis Daoust November 3, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Father is speaking to his children all over the earth.I was bless by the revelation on Father,s view of us
    and my brothers and sisters in Christ comments.Father loves us come run to Him .He is always waiting for you with his arms wide open.He wants to pick you up sit you on His knees and caress,hug you passionnally.You are so precious in his sight.He is revealing Himself by revelations He is giving to His body through Pearls of Truth that are being share through the body of Christ.Not just one brother or one sister so nobody gets puff up by these revelations (which I call Pearls of Truth).I,m so excited at what is happening all over the earth.We are connected because of the technology of the computers,laptops,cell phones,Facebook,My Space etc.They are just tools to stay connected in that space.But it must never take the place of relationships.My greatest joy is when I meet a brother in Christ or a sister in Christ.Father has an awsome family.I need each one of you.Let us run the race set before us together.We are not in competition no,no,no.Father is doing what He said He would do.He is building His church.Who is His church?Look around see You and me.US.Never was a literal building made of bricks,or wood,or steel etc.NO,NO,NO,Was always throughr the ages a living organisim.We have made a building an institution because we are confortable in that environment.We are secure.O my brother O my sister like our brother Peter did Step out of your comfort zone.Start walhing on the water don,t let the enemy side track you.Keep your eyes fix on Jesus.Keep your ears tune to his voice.Don,t let go of his hand.You,ll make it.You will stay above your circumstances around you.Father loves us so much I,m overwhelm with His love.You see I,m dead to self Totally dead.It is Jesus Christ of Nazareth that is alive in Denis DaoustYes He has send the third person of the trinity The Holy Spirit to teach us all truth(Jesus is Truth).Like our beloved Bridegroom promise us He did not leave us orphan alone on our onw to walk this journey down here.This is not our home.So much to share but this is good for now.I LOVE EACH ONE OF YOU SO MUCH.FATHER SAID THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIAN BY OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

Comments are closed.