Each year, our family takes a vacation to a little river in eastern Oklahoma. It’s so quiet and peaceful. There is no internet, spotty cell service, and the only other people to be seen are those who are vacationing in the cabins that are just down the road. For the most part, it seems like we are all down there for the same reasons: Family togetherness and rest without interruption from the world.
The first morning we were there this year, my husband and son decided to go on an early morning trip down to a little fishing spot they had scoped out the year before. I decided to stay back and relax in the sun until they returned. After they left, I found a peaceful spot near the cabin and laid down to relax. Oh, the warmth of the sun felt so good, and I quickly drifted off into a little nap.
Not long after my eyes had closed, I heard the sound of laughter in the distance. It was faint, but I heard it coming nearer to where I had laid my head. Soon I looked and I saw two women coming towards me. They were laughing and carrying on. They looked to be in their 60s with lovely white hair and beautiful smiles.
They greeted me as they came closer. They explained that they had come from the nearby cabin and saw that there was a paddle boat tied up to the bank near the cabin we were staying in. They asked if they could borrow it. I told them that they were welcome to it, that it had been left here by the people before us, and if they wanted to, they could just take it back to their cabin. They said that it was really hard to get into the water from the bank near where they were staying, and would just bring it back here since it was easier to get in and out.
I watched to see if I could be of any assistance as the two ladies helped each other down to the river. They loaded into the boat, and headed off on their way.
Some time later, I was sitting in the shade reading. I could hear the two women heading back to return the paddle boat. They were singing this time. I heard them belting out, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!” One would holler, “Where?” Then this was followed with a robust, “Down in my heart!” Then they both giggled with glee. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them cary on together.
I met them at the bank of the river, and lent a hand to help them back up on the shore. I asked them their names. One was named Lynn and the other, ironically, was named Joy. We chatted for some time. The two were related, Joy being an aunt close in age to Lynn. They were vacationing with other relatives and their husbands, and were leaving the next morning.
Not long after we began to talk, the conversation turned to the Father and His goodness. With every word each lady said, I could see their eyes light up with amazement and excitement. Joy shared that the Father had really been leading her heart to pray continually. I was excited, and told them how I had just been studying in Acts, and how I had saw something beautiful I hadn’t seen before. I told them how in Acts 2, Peter stands up and gives an oration with confidence and authority, and how that was so much different than him denying Jesus the 3 times just before His crucifixion. This part I had realized before, but the new thing that I saw takes us all the way back to Luke 22:31-32. Jesus said speaking to Peter (who is called Simon), “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” I was just bursting with joy telling these two new friends that Acts 2 was direct evidence of an answered prayer from Jesus himself! I told them both if it was good for Jesus to pray, it for sure would be good for us to as well seeing as how He is our perfect example.
The three of us were just all giddy. We chatted a short time longer. Joy asked me my name again, and I watched her with intent in her mind to remember it. She then asked me my husband and son’s names. I watched her again putting the names in her heart. I have no doubt in my mind that she would later pray for the three of us when she was in the quiet presence of the Father.
They said goodbye, and I watched them walk off with the exact same laughter and joy as when they first came to my cabin.
After they were far out of site, I prayed to the Father and thanked Him for sending His two witnesses of joy. My heart was full watching them just spew with the Spirit, like little children with no care in the world. I prayed that I could be like this, showing the love of God with strangers and loved ones, with laughter and singing. I asked Him for forgiveness for when I have been consumed by the chaos surrounding me instead of wholly clinging to Him, and for forgiveness for walking in flesh instead of Spirit like these two messengers of His love.
If I could meet these two ladies again someday, I would let them know how much the encounter with them by the river reminded me of the Joy that was inside of me. Thank you, Joy and Lynn.