*first, a shameless plug: this picture is from the show The Chosen, which has been refreshing for my soul.  Jesus came and taught and ate and laughed and had dust on his feet, and sometimes I forget that.

“So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine.”

-John 4:46a

One day I found myself in Albania, by a river, and I was sitting and trying to pray and read.  We were spread out and I was by myself, and the shore was rocky and a tall mountain ahead had all the sunshine so that I was in shadow.  I was trying to pray and read and felt all kinds of messed-up, couldn’t “feel it”, couldn’t focus.

An excerpt from my journal that day, and the dramatic melancholy makes me smile with seriousness at the memory:

“…The day is far too lovely for me to screw it up with my humanity. I want to hear from You, but I don’t know how.  I want you to talk to me but I don’t want to obey.  I don’t want to be downcast.  I want to know You like those children knew Aslan–but I can’t.  It does seem impossible.”

For, as I am learning, the devil, the adversary, likes for us to meditate on our short-sightedness, our failure, our feelings.  He will do anything to keep us from thinking of the kind King and his ability to do what we cannot. But our kind King doesn’t leave us there.

So in the midst of this analytical preoccupation, I was interrupted–hands jokingly pushed my shoulders and I started. “BOO!”  It was Arsid, one of our team leaders.  He knocked me right out of my funk and I laughed.

I still have no idea if that action was even premeditated.  God has given me many  brothers in this life, and it seems that their main purpose is to show me that he laughs more than I think he does.

Because there he was, sitting with me, laughing too.

The words that I scratched after that-

“Do you surprise?  Do you jump right into my analytical day and bring the joy and sunshine with you?  Like Arsid just did–saw me in my thoughtful funk and caught my shoulders to jar me out of my “thinks” and into laughter?

God, is that you?”

And though I was unaware at the time, the Aslan-God looked at me, eyes sparkling, and said,