I don’t just love pop/soda. It is nice to have from time to time, but it is basically never my first choice of refreshment. However, this is a story of how I came to have my favorite bottle of pop.
You may remember from a previous saddle story when I helped drive two cows through El Carbon (the tiny village located right next to El Sembrador). That saddle story happened at the end of the day when many people were arriving home from work and school was already finished for the day. That experience was very enjoyable, but the whole time I felt like an outsider that everyone was curious of. Though I never felt any hostility or danger, I did not feel like a welcomed guest.
Chele and I approached El Carbon this time with only one cow that was much calmer. As we entered into the heart of the town, I began hearing my name called out. At first I was a little unsure and perplexed, but then I heard a flood of “Hola Scott” and “Como está.”
You see, all the farm workers’ children (which is a lot) go to school at El Carbon. I have made friends with many of them while being here, so when I rode past them while they were outside in the school yard, they loved it (and so did I). I love children and having a royal welcome by them was honestly rather flattering. I realized quickly that having found favor in the eyes of the children, the older ladies working outside their homes gave me a warmer smile. After delivering the cow, one of the older women even ran to get me a bottle of Coca-Cola. She insisted on giving it to me as a gift and would not accept any money for it.
Chele and I then proceeded to slowly saunter out of town drinking our bottles of Coca-Cola so the lady could see we were enjoying them. As I reflected on the past several minutes, this time hearing the fading sound of “Adios Scott,” I realized I had never enjoyed a pop as much as this one. Yes, it was hot, and yes, I was thirsty, but the joy from the experience is what made it the best. During the long walk to the next place we were going, I reflected on this.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran across I Thessalonians 5: 16-18 which says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Since reading that, I have been reflecting on how that needs to apply to my life not only here but everywhere I go.
Coca-cola to me is just a nominal thing, yet I found myself enjoying the drink more than ever. It wasn’t the drink that was so great, it was the joy leading up to the drink. So I began to ask myself- “How many nominal things in your life, Scott, stay nominal because you don’t allow joy to come to them?” First Thessalonians 5:16 says that we can be joyful at all times. How is that even possible? It is possible if you allow Jesus to penetrate everything in your life. Jesus is the root of all true joy. This last experience in El Carbon has caused me to ask God to search me and reveal to me the areas in my life that are boring/bad, nominal, or even exciting but are not filled with the joy He wants me to have. I want to fully allow Him to be God in those areas as much as He wants to be.
Jesus wants us to rejoice always. With about two weeks left here, Savanah and I are asking the Lord for joy though we are sad to leave. Will you ask the Lord to fill you with joy for all circumstances in your life too? May the joy of the Lord be your strength.