[Part 5, Chapter 29]
For forty-five years, I didn’t need glasses. Then for five years I needed glasses but didn’t get them. They were the fuzzy years. Now I really need them. Not prescription lenses, but chemist magnifiers. Imagine my shock to put them on and see the ear and nasal hair that had been flourishing unnoticed.
Seriously, though, these magnifiers are brilliant.
When you look at a newspaper article with a magnifying glass, you are not changing the print, but you are seeing a larger version of what is already there. What was blurry, you are now seeing clearly.
Mary has received favour. She now sees God clearly. She sees him as he is, not as she has presumed or perhaps judged him to be.
She now sees him as is joy. Her soul rejoices.
God is joy. He doesn’t only release joy, he is joy itself. It’s where he lives and where he comes from. It’s his disposition, his personality, his character, and his orientation.
In the language of the New Testament, the word for joy has the same origin as both favour and grace. Favour releases joy. Living joy-filled sustains favour.
Whenever we rejoice, we are enlarging or magnifying our view of an attribute that is of God’s very essence. We are exclaiming something about his character.
Mary has a magnified, upgraded view of the Lord because of the favour she now lives in.
This favour has changed her view of herself, her situation, and the world in which she lives.
In this way, favour has also magnified her. She sees herself through her identity as a daughter. She is accepted and chosen. God is not someone distant, but a personal God who speaks intimately to her.
In turn, the very core of Mary’s being—her soul—now sees clearly what beforehand was blurry: the Lord is good; he is joy itself.
You have a capacity already within you to see God as joy and live out of that joy. It is placed there with favour. Sometimes it is unclear to us and becomes blurry. In those times, we magnify the promises and character of God. We look at him from the perspective of favour, not feelings, and we are led to rejoicing.
Rejoicing is not merely a happy-clappy, sentimental, extroverted outpouring of emotion.
It is an expression of trust. “Father God’s face is toward me. I have his favour. Jesus has given me access to all Father has for me. Holy Spirit graces my life with his whole being, living inside of me. Therefore, I go forward in life from that perspective. I cannot fail.”
That is rejoicing.
Rejoicing is David going up against Goliath, when everyone else is running scared, not knowing how the three-metre-man will be defeated, knowing only that God has placed both the challenge and the victory before him.
His action magnifies the Lord.
Rejoicing is going into surgery, not knowing whether you’ll come out in this world, butterflies in the pit of your stomach, tears in your eyes as you farewell loved ones, knowing that in all that is unknowable, God is with you.
Rejoicing is gutsy. It is real. It is based in knowing that you are known. It is grounded in favour.