Finding JOY!

 

my “trumpet duet” was a crowd favorite. I was in the middle of performing that number when the large crowd began to applaud and cheer like I had never experienced before or since. The large crowd started to push forward toward the stage to get a closer look as if they were experiencing some sort of musical miracle (search “solo trumpet duet” on YouTube to see this “miracle”). This made me very nervous because the “miracle” is a well-timed comedy sketch that ends with what I think is a very funny “you’ve-been-had” finale.

The crowd was so enthusiastic I knew there was a good chance that when the ending came, their joy could turn to anger. I wasn’t sure if angry fans in Barquisimeto threw tomatoes or avocados but was thinking I’d soon find out. I’m happy to report things went quite well. The crowd enjoyed the humor and the avocados were only used for guacamole.

When the concert was over, however, a very serious, large man started toward me. I swallowed hard and tried to remember how to say “joke” in Spanish (it’s chiste). The large man got right into my face and before I knew what was happening, grabbed me around the shoulders, pulled me close in a bear hug, and started to laugh. It was a deep, long, heartfelt laugh that is hard to forget.

The large man, as it turns out, was a local pastor. His life had been completely turned upside down by a series of tragedies he had not been able to overcome. “I lost all of my joy,” he explained, “and I have not laughed like this in over two years…” He paused, then looked at me with smiling eyes and added, “…until tonight.”

“You must come to my church tomorrow morning and do your trumpet duet,” he commanded. It was not a request. I had never performed my solo-trumpet-duet at a Sunday morning church service before and I haven’t since. But I did then and the large pastor boomed with laughter as I played. No one has laughed louder when my 2:40 duet was over and I don’t think anyone ever will.

Then the most amazing thing happened.

 

“I have been a poor pastor and example, but I have been praying for God to restore my soul. I wanted to laugh again and feel His joy.” Then, he explained how God used my silly trumpet number the night before to release years of pent up anger and frustration. He wanted his congregation to see what God had used to open a closed heart.

Tears of joy filled the church even before my emotion-filled father gave a short message. As he concluded, the Lord prompted him to give an altar call — something my father rarely did. That Sunday morning, I sat in the congregation absolutely astounded to see dozens of people commit their lives to Christ.

Perhaps like that pastor, circumstances and events in your life have caused you to lose your joy — but you want it back. Perhaps like that solo-trumpet-duet player, you are astonished at what God might use to accomplish His purposes — and can hardly believe it involves you.

This Thanksgiving, I pray you take the time to consider God’s blessings and remember that there is always, ALWAYS, something for which we can be thankful. And I also pray that God would encourage your heart to remember that God is the one who hears your prayers, knows your struggles, fills your heart with joy, and blesses your participation to “build up the church, the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12) in ways you may never know. Even helping a pastor in Barquisimeto rediscover his joy.

P.S. Call LOGOI at 305-232-5880 about
getting Ed to your church in 2018 — a wonderful way to celebrate
LOGOI’s 50th Anniversary!