Fullness And Limitation
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
My physical health, size, strength and coordination sets certain parameters around what I can do. For instance a strong man who is five feet tall may be able to lift a weight of 250lbs or more, yet he may be limited in his vertical jump and not be able to dunk a basketball on a ten foot high rim. Physical abilities and limitations influence the things I choose to do and in which I might excel. This has become increasingly evident with age as my strength, stamina and flexibility (along with my hair) have begun to diminish. The things I could easily do at one time, with age, are more difficult, or even impossible now. When life and identity is defined by “doing” this can be very discouraging. One can feel lost, purposeless and empty of meaning.
But I believe that our physical limits were never intended to diminish our sense of the fullness of joy and the fullness of life itself. The psalmist says “In Your presence is fullness of joy…” and Jesus in His John 15 reference to abiding in the true vine says, “that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” When we define our lives by being in the presence of Jesus we never have to be limited by our diminishing physical abilities to experience the fullness of His joy. The fullness of life and joy in Christ is never absent from those abiding, rooted and well connected to Him. If we define our lives by what we are physically able to do or not to do, we will be disappointed and possibly miss the fullness of life found in just being with Jesus. His fullness of life and joy extended to us and intended for us are never limited by what we can or can’t do in our own strength. In fact, from the very beginning, life has been a gift from God meant to fill us completely with His love and well-being. As I get older and I realize my mind would like to do things my body can’t, I have a forever invitation to be with Jesus in His presence where there is fullness of joy. What I am able to do should not limit my experience of fullness that Jesus has intended for me.
Each day is an opportunity to live all our lives abiding in His life-giving presence connected to the source of all joy. Dallas Willard made this comment regarding the joy found in God.
“We should, to begin with, think that God leads a very interesting life, and that He is full of joy. Undoubtedly He is the most joyous being in the universe. The abundance of His love and generosity is inseparable from His infinite joy. All of the good and beautiful things from which we occasionally drink tiny droplets of soul-exhilarating joy, God continuously experiences in all their breadth and depth and richness.”
The Divine Conspiracy
Each day we can further be immersed in the depths of joy present in God’s being. He is, as Dallas Willard says, “the most joyous being in the universe”. We need not depend upon our accomplishments to bring us all the joy we could ever imagine, but instead we can depend on the truth that the fullness of joy can be experienced in God’s presence.
But if our lives are to be full of God’s joy, if we are to truly take hold of the fullness God has, we may have to empty our hands and hearts of those things that compete for the space available. A simple gesture of opening our hands might be the best way to symbolize our desire to let go of all that might distract us from all God intends for us to receive of His life, love and joy.
In your moments of prayer are your hands gripped tightly around your desires, your plans and your requests or are those desires, plans and requests held in an open handed way? Might I suggest as you pray this day, opening your hands physically as a symbol of opening all the space of your heart to Him. For in the space of our hearts, God desires to fill us with His joy, the joy of the most joyous being in the universe. Your limitations need not diminish your experience of the fullness of His unlimited life and joy. May you experience the fullness of His life and joy in His presence this day. Here’s a song to assist in your reflection.