The Beautiful Simplicity of the Gospel

When the simple joy of faith and family intertwine on an overcast vacation day

by
Posted in , Aug 13, 2015

The pure, simple joy of faith and family

I won’t forget the day my family found sweet joy in a simple pleasure. It makes me think about my faith and the beautiful simplicity of the gospel. Pared back, it’s easy to understand.

Another Michigan vacation day brought moody skies. We’d hoped to boat, but instead we drove to a small tourist town and rattled around the dollar store.

The little boys found plastic dragons and castle molds to use later in the sand.

I found a 14-foot jump rope. I slipped it into our shopping basket and pulled it out when we returned to the cabin.

“Let’s jump,” I said. “I’ll teach you the songs I used to sing.” Five boys groaned. We home teach our boys during the early years, and none of them had experienced jumping rope in gym class. They weren’t lured by songs like “Cinderella Dressed in Yella” or promises of Double Dutch.

Shawnelle's son Isaiah jumping rope. A family's afternoon of simple joy.“C’mon,” I said. “Give it a try.”

They followed me to the patio, and at first the sight was painful. Like my boys’ shoes were filled with stones. But after an hour, every boy was jumping (even the grown ones). Sometimes they jumped two or three brothers at a time.

My husband, Lonny, and I even had a contest.

Sometimes a pure form of joy can be found in the simple. It’s like my need for Jesus.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV)

While we were still sinners…

The truth is simple. Not the sacrifice, but my need. Not the offering, but my desperation for it. It’s easy to know that I need a Savior. It’s easy to understand that He reached into my imperfection with perfect grace. And this simple truth has the power to change me. It enables me to look at life through a grace filter. No matter what circumstance I walk through, this gift is more that I could ever deserve.

I’ve been covered, soul-deep, with mercy.

Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. And the truth of my redemption brings joy–joy that is beyond circumstance. It’s the reason Paul had in prison. Or when he endured ship wrecks and a snake bite and lived with a thorn in his flesh. It’s the reason I can have joy, too, no matter what my life situation.

It had been a tough year for our family in many ways. We’ve had struggles. But I’ll hold that memory of playing together under a stormy sky. The boys running in and out of the jumprope's arc while Lonny and I twirled it for them. The big boys twirling it for us. I’ll remember the laughter and easy joy.

It was the day we were lost in the deep, profound beauty of a pure, simple thing.

View Comments